Australia announces plans to explore concepts to save UNESCO World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef

Recently, Australia announced plans to explore concepts such as firing salt into clouds and covering swathes of water with a thin layer of film in a bid to save the embattled Great Barrier Reef. The UNESCO World Heritage-listed reef, about the size of Japan or Italy, is reeling from two straight years of bleaching as sea temperatures rise because of climate change. The site contains the world’s largest collection of coral reefs, with 400 types of coral, 1,500 species of fish and 4,000 types of mollusc. Experts have warned that the 2,300-kilometre long area could have suffered irreparable damage. To resolve the issue, the Australian Government offered US$1.5 million to attract innovative ideas to protect the site. Out of 69 submissions, 6 schemes has been shortlisted that will be tested to see if they are feasible. The short-listed projects include mass producing coral larvae with the aid of 3D-printed surfaces to support new growth, and large-scale harvesting and relocation of larvae.

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