The Great Barrier Reef is dying.
The world’s biggest coral reef system and home to millions of marine species are succumbing to coral bleaching quickly, and unless people get their act together, one of Australia’s pride and UNESCO World Heritage sites will become extinct.
What Is Coral Bleaching?
Coral bleaching refers to an event where the corals turn white. It’s a natural response involving the release of algae from their tissues. Although this can occur when the temperatures get cold, it is more common when water temperature rises.
The Great Barrier Reef today has the worst case of coral bleaching in history. More than three quarters of around 3,000 coral reefs are already damaged. It’s also likely that more than 22 percent of the reef system have been killed – higher than what scientists initially estimated.
How Dangerous Is It?
Coral bleaching is disastrous not only for marine life but for also for humans:
- Bleached corals have reduced capacity to reproduce and are now more susceptible to diseases.
- As corals die, the marine food chain is disturbed significantly. This may lead to the death and eventually extinction of several species, including those humans, depend on for survival.
- It hurts tourism, reduces shoreline protection, and leads to potential sources of livelihood.
- Bleaching also affects industries like pharmaceutical that rely on marine resources such as corals.
How Do You Stop It?
Despite the massive death, the Great Barrier Reef is still alive – barely. Everyone should act together to control coral bleaching and provide solutions for its short- and long-term effect on marine and human life.
The government should impose stronger regulations on mining, which contributes to harmful water run-offs, and carbon emissions. Pollutions should also be significantly controlled and avoided. Oil spills can be mitigated by using Argyle Commercial absorbents and long-term water condition monitoring.
What’s done is done. Rather than dwell on what's dead, we take lessons from the past and do better for the sake of the corals and humanity.