The Great Barrier Reef of Australia, a World Heritage Site, is diminishing at an unprecedented speed. A survey done in 2016 revealed that 95% of the reef’s corals had been bleached and the condition just isn’t improving.
Another survey done by the committee in the same year revealed that bleaching doesn’t harm the corals. In yet another survey, it was reported that on a stretch of 700 square kilometers revealed that 67% of the coral died in the last one year. A committee set up by the Australian government to tackle this issue concluded after many surveys that rather than increasing or saving the dying corals, it is better to maintain the living ones.
The panel also released a statement saying that bleaching which has occurred since the beginning of 2016 has fundamentally changed the reef. Many businesses are dependent on the reef and the team is hoping that the reef can be preserved for several decades.
Due to the worsening ecological function of the Great Barrier Reef, several other neighboring areas are being affected too. Scientists claim that the damage is irreversible. In the past few decades, there have been rapid changes in the environment. Nature couldn’t cope up with the pace of these unwanted changes, resulting in the effects we observe daily.
The emission of greenhouse gas is the center of all these problems. Efforts need to be made in such a way that not only is the reef protected but also achieve its former state. Two anonymous experts from the committee said that maintaining the ecological function should be the goal. It means balancing the ecological functions of the reef while keeping in mind the changes that would occur in the future.
Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, who is a part of the expert panel said that by maintaining the ecological functions, the reef should resemble what it was like before the 1980s when the industries were less in number and people were truly interested in keeping the corals and ecosystem safe and clean.
Increased efforts need to be made not only to protect the Great Barrier Reef but also the other ecosystems of the world, in order to maintain balance.