Is The Great Barrier Reef Really Dead?
Dead and dying are two different terms. Great Barrier Reef has been around since last 25 million years and various research studies done so far indicate that Great Barrier Reef has died a slow death.
Condemnation on Social Media
The news that Great Barrier Reef had died a slow death met with condemnation on social media. The Chief of Coral Reef Ecosystem Program at Pacific Island Fisheries Centre Russell Brainard said that the studies indicate the urgency of the situation at hand but common people are likely to take this issue at face value.
The situation has taken a turn for the worse indeed and some people have taken to Twitter instead. This prompted environmental reporter Tony Davis to tweet that reports indicating death of Great Barrier Reef are actually false.
The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef ecosystem in the world and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The reef covers 300,000 square kilometers and has more than 3,000 reefs. Additionally, there are more than 600 islands and 300 coral cays in Great Barrier Reef.
Recovery Efforts Initiated so far
It is not as if efforts to save the Great Barrier Reef from degradation are not being undertaken. Reports from ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies point out that around 93% of the reef has been affected by bleaching and this has put the entire reef in trouble.
The condition as bleaching arises when extreme stress inflicts the reef owing to changes in light, temperature or nutrient ratio. This makes the reef turn white instead.
However, it is also true that if we over exaggerate the situation; it will lead to more chaos. John Pandolfi from University of Queensland points out that resilience of reef needs to be strengthened and it is indeed struggling as three bleaching have occurred in last 18 years.
The blame for development of this situation has been put on Australian Government as it had put pressure on United Nations to remove reference to reef from Climate Change report since the Government was concerned that it could impact tourism in the country.
However, Queensland Government has been now working on improving health of the reef and has been investing $2 billion in conservation initiatives. There have been several factors in the past which led to degradation of the reef. These include fishing, mining and coral bleaching as the major factors.
Government has been taking up conservation initiatives and it is still not late if we take up measures in time to save the reef from degradation.