Great Barrier Reef in danger of becoming landfill

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Geneva, Switzerland – The irresponsible industrialization in the Great Barrier Reef could cause severe damage to one of the most important natural systems of the world damage, according to a new report commissioned by WWF. The report, entitled “The Great Barrier Reef threatened” reveals that the dumping of debris from the port expansion within the confines of this space Heritage could have “devastating impact” on the reef.

To prevent the emergence of new on this vulnerable ecosystem, WWF has called on the Australian government to ban the dumping of dredging remains on the Great Barrier Reef.

“The Great Barrier Reef is one of the world’s richest ocean habitats, home to endangered species, an important source of income for Australia and a natural treasure of the whole world. Convert the reef in a landfill is the wrong choice for the environment and it makes no sense economically, especially since we talk about building unnecessary ports, “said Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International.

Plans to expand the ports involve dredging of approximately 51 million cubic meters of seabed. This is enough material to fill 49 times the Empire State Building in New York. Most of this waste could be dumped into the waters of the Great Barrier Reef, where they originate “clouds” very harmful sediments that could move up to 80 kilometers. The dredging and disposal can smother corals and threaten the survival of endangered species such as sea turtles.

Australia seeks to increase more than twice the capacity of export coal in the state of Queensland, to
Although the capacity of the coal port state a third of the time can not fail, according to an analysis by the independent consulting firm Global Development Advisors. According to current expansion plans, the ability to export Queensland coal would increase to 637 million tons per year, much more than they exported throughout Australia as short-term predictions.

The coal industry seems to be undergoing a structural decline as renewables are gaining ground, says the report. “Therefore, it is unlikely that the proposed coal ports needed. The damage to the reef, however, will be done, “he says.

“To protect the reef and safeguard 69,000 jobs provided by the Australian government should ban the dumping of debris across the Great Barrier Reef,” said Dermot O’Gorman, Director of WWF-Australia. “Furthermore, it should reduce dredging and make greater efforts to improve water quality.”

If not given the appropriate steps to reverse the decline of the reef, the area could be listed as “endangered” by UNESCO. The status of the expansion of ports and the health of the Great Barrier Reef could cause controversy in the World Heritage meeting in Bonn, Germany, in June Committee.

According to the WWF report, many prominent banks have decided not to fund coal terminals on the reef due to concerns about environmental impacts. WWF urges companies not to invest or participate in any project that may threaten the Great Barrier Reef and other World Heritage sites.

“As we can see the Great Barrier Reef, healthy ocean habitats can be the engine of a sound economic growth that generates employment and increase the welfare of the people,” said Lambertini. “The stewardship of the ocean, which is essential to preserve the crucial role that marine ecosystems provide food and employment for billions of people, should be the key to any roadmap towards a sustainable future.”


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