The world has a lot of beauty to offer, sometimes in tiny little creatures that walk the surface of earth or huge structures that are built over millions of years, grain by grain. The Great Barrier Reef is one of those natural wonders, made by millions of corals put together into this one huge reef, the largest there is in the world, a little off the coast of Australia. But like every wonder of nature has suffered somewhere at hands of humans, this particular beauty hasn’t been spared either.
The current status of Great Barrier Reef pollution has environmentalists worrying over its stability, while some of the pollution affecting comes from the maritime industry.
There are a lot of human activities that, directly or indirectly, add to the list of threats to the Great Barrier Reef. Among them, shipping poses some dangers too. Even though it is not considered as one of the worst things that happen to this natural wonder, it is certainly one of the worse ones.
Shipping is not a major activity in the reef. Other activities like human habitation, farming, over fishing etc are far more dangerous to the reef. However, even then the contribution of shipping to Great Barrier Reef pollution cannot be ignored.
Shipping and its threats to the Great Barrier Reef
Shipping poses a danger to this reef mainly when ships cross through the waters of the reef frequently. This is otherwise alright or even worse for the ship as the insides of the reef offer much more hostile conditions. But despite this fact, more sailors prefer to sail their ships from insides of the reef rather than on the outside because the internal reef structures offers a rather cozy spot for ship to tie itself down in case of an emergency. That is the only reason ships prefer this rather dangerous route.
However, once a ship decides to dock inside the reef that becomes a problem because it can lead to death of many corals, especially the ones that are directly beneath the landed ship. Also, the waste disposal from ship can pose as an aspiring donor to the effects of marine pollution, getting worse with increasing time the ship stays there.
However, the worst of it all is in the form of oil spills. We have all heard and read about the oil spills and danger they pose to the marine life. Ships are likely to have accidents under the hostile conditions of inside of the reef. And if the ship happens to carry water, the oil spill caused by it can turn pretty nasty sometimes. This affects the coral directly besides disrupting the entire ecosystem of the area by harming the marine mammals, the flora and other fauna of the area. This, in the long run can cause enormous damage to the entire coral reef, posing as one of the major threats to the Great Barrier Reef.
Great Barrier Reef pollution prevention
Effects of marine pollution in the reef due to human activities, shipping included, are too grave to be overlooked. The need for the Great Barrier Reef pollution prevention is imminent and immediate actions need to be taken regarding the same. A lot in this regard is being done by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.
They regulate the human activities in this area, keeping in check the harmful effects. This includes prevention of entry of ships inside the reef. Also, there is a need to find more efficient ways to curb damage due to the oil spills. This includes a quicker and more efficient system to do so which can remove the oil from the reef ensuring minimum further damage is caused.
However, a single body like Great Barrier Reef Marine Park authority is not enough. People all over the world need to understand their responsibility in protecting a world heritage site built by nature itself and do their bit in protecting it against the damage caused by on their own behalf.
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