How are coastal and Marine ecosystems impacted by the increase in greenhouse gas emissions? What are the measures that can be taken to protect and restore such vulnerable ecosystems?

Greenhouse gas emissions have increased considerably in the last century. It has led to several issues like global warming and climate change.

It is also impacting the coastal and marine ecosystems in many ways, such as:

  • Water bodies and oceans do carbon sequestration by absorbing greenhouse gases. This has led to ocean acidification.
  • The concentration of bicarbonate ions has increased in the oceans due to acidification. Due to this, the corals are not able to form shells, which leads to coral bleaching, e.g, the great barrier reef of Australia has been severely damaged.
  • An increase in sea level due to thermal expansion of water and melting of glaciers has led to the submergence of estuaries, lagoons, deltas, etc.
  • An increase in the salt content of brackish water systems like lagoons and delta has led to a decrease in biodiversity, e.g, Sundarbans delta of West Bengal.
  • Submergence and erosion of coasts and islands. e.g, Maldives is facing the threat of submergence.
  • Increased temperature of water bodies is harming various ecosystems existing within water bodies.

Measures to be taken:

  • Efforts to restore these ecosystems like Reef restoration works in Australia.
  • Commitments under United Nation Framework for climate change needs to be fulfilled with utmost priority.
  • Local initiatives to restore the ecosystem like coastal regulation zone management, planting of trees to prevent erosion of islands and coasts, prohibition of solid waste dumping, etc.

Other initiatives for the protection of ecosystems like the Ramsar Convention, the convention on migratory species, etc. 

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