Australia’s new Plan to protect Great Barrier Reef

On January 28, 2022, Australia launched a new plan to protect the climate-ravaged Great Barrier Reef.

Key Facts

  • Government launched a USD 700 million package for protecting the Great Barrier Reef, in a hope of preventing vast network of corals from being removed from World Heritage list of UNESCOS’.
  • The Plan will help in avoid the reef from being placed on UNESCO’s “in danger” list.

Reef 2050 plan

When the United Nations had earlier threatened to downgrade World Heritage listing of reef in 2015, Australia had created a “Reef 2050” plan and invested billions of dollars into protection. The measures are believed to have stopped the pace of decline. however, much of reef system has already been damaged.

Bleaching of coral reefs

According to a recent study, bleaching had affected 98 percent of the reef since 1998. Only a fraction of the reef is left untouched. Bleaching occurs when healthy corals become stressed due to increasing ocean temperatures. High temperature causes them to expel algae living in their tissues. The algae drain them of their vibrant colours. Australian reef has undergone three mass bleaching events during heatwaves in 2016, 2017 as well as 2020. Bleaching events have left corals on struggle for survival.

The Great Barrier Reef

It is the world’s largest coral reef system, comprising of more than 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands. The system stretches for over 2,300 kilometres, on an area of 344,400 square kilometres. It is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland in Australia. It is separated from the coast through a channel 100 miles wide and around 200 feet deep. The Reef system can be seen from outer space. It is the world’s biggest single structure made by living organisms. The reef system supports a wide diversity of life and was designated as a World Heritage Site in 1981.

Coral Polyps

The Great Barrier Reef is composed of and built by billions of tiny organisms. These organisms are known as coral polyps.

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