Human influences have resulted in a 50% decline of the Great Barrier Reef since 1985. After reviewing this endangerment issue, one can see that the Australian Government needs to take immediate action to reduce the cause and effect of air pollution and impurity of water off the coast of Queensland, Australia. A few hazards that have excessively increased over the years are Illegal Fishing, Climate Change, and Coral Bleaching, most of these are factors from the waste from large commercial companies in or near the area.
A high concentration of greenhouse gases (mostly carbon dioxide) result in heat being trapped and overall high water temperature, which will decrease the oxygen in the water, affecting the organisms living in this environment. The sustainability management plan believes that these threats will affect the reefs ability to recover if action is not taken in future years as it is already rapidly decaying, and projected to be barren by 2050. The government needs to take immediate action to reduce air pollution and contamination of the water by creating an eco-friendly coalition in areas around Queensland. According to barrierreef.
org, an informational website, “notwithstanding positive actions have caused around 67% of shallow water coral to perish from the effects of coral bleaching and fossil fuel emissions.” Along with climate change, fossil fuel emissions (coal, oil, natural gas, and gasoline) in the air cause the water temperature to rise, which causes the coral to expel algae (zooxanthellae) that live inside of their tissues which makes them turn completely white, around 67% of coral that has been bleached is either dying or dead. In a study done by Oona Lonnstedt at the Australian Research Council, the death rate of organisms is 75% more likely to happen if they are living in dead (bleached) coral, vice-versa.
The Australian Government needs to awaken to the view of an Ecologists or a Marine Biologists, for most of what they perceive is a National Landmark & a high monetary area. If they changed their point of view, they would see excessively rising water temperatures, bleached white coral, & contaminated water, that would eventually lead to the death of their most influential monument. It’s stated that “climate change is the biggest threat to the Great Barrier Reef and coral reefs around the world. The effects are likely to have far-reaching consequences for the ecosystem, marine life, the reef’s universal value as a world heritage area, and the communities and industries that depend on the reef.” (“Threats to the Reef”).
Agricultural Runoff (water leaving farm fields because of rain, melted snow, or irrigation. As runoff moves, it picks up and carries pollution) on the reef and the organisms within it; a problem because it can include pollution from soil erosion, feeding operations, grazing, plowing, animal waste, application of pesticides, irrigation water, and fertilizer. This can trigger “dead zones” in algae blooms in coastal waters where there is no oxygen and little to no fish or wildlife can survive, none habitable. In the end zone, this pollution ends up in our water and wildlife, exposes us to high levels of chemicals that are dangerous to be ingested. Agricultural can ruin everything the Reef stands for, the water, organisms, and the foundation of the reef, by decreasing the landscapes stability in full.
gbrmba.com states “The Australian and Queensland Governments’ Reef 2050 Long-term Sustainability Plan provides an overarching framework for protecting the Reef and boosting it’s resilience; Reef’s health and management.” while others report that “attempting to fix the water quality will cost around $8.2bn in the next decade but even then some of the targets will be impossible to meet.” (“Natural Wonder Under Threat”) It’s not just “fixing” the water quality, the Australian Government needs to see what is expelling into the water & the physical issues this causes to the entire landscape.Despite the cost, there are more eco-friendly options that can ensure growth of the reef over an extended period of time which would reduce the horrific acts of climate change on this National Landmark. Currently the Government (GBRMPA) states “they are making efforts to improve water quality,” even is this is true the efforts are moving in a slow process and the reed may perish under its current stressful situations.The Government needs to fastrack their current plan or consider other options.
Some people are agitated that the Great Barrier Reef is encapsulating due to while others believe that this is natural for how long it has been around and it is adjusting to the evolving world. This controversy is based off two factors, Tax vs. Tourism.
If immediate actions are put in place, the Australian Government will have to tax its citizens imprudently if budget standards are not met, while tourism strives in this area, if closed or unaccessible, there is a complete loss of revenue throughout the landscape (hotels, tours, etc). Tourism may also have a negative impact, with “fragile corals broken by reef walking, dropped anchors or by boats dropping fuel and other sorts of pollution. Even the number of people in the water with the associated run-off of sweat and suntan lotions may well have a negative impact on the fragile reef environment” (“Australia Great Barrier Reef”). Anyway you try to see this complication, there is only one result; strains and stress to the reef.
Unwithdrawn changes will greatly impact it’s well being and liveliness. To recall this stance, the Australian Government needs to fast track their current program, or take different steps towards the cleanup and regrowth of the Great Barrier Reef; extreme decrease of fossil fuel emissions and agricultural runoff. Fossil fuels cause an increase of air and water temperature in this landscape (coral bleaching), while agricultural runoff causes pollution and inhabitable dead zones to organisms living in this environment. If there isn’t a severe decrease in these notwithstanding human actions, this National Landmark will decay and eventually perish at fault of consumers.