Following a meeting of the World Heritage Committee, UNESCO has crossed off the Great Barrier Reef from the endangered sites list. Originally, UNESCO added it to the list as a result of the continuous coral bleaching that has been damaging the reef over the years. Despite having taken this step, UNESCO still expressed their serious concerns over the overall protection of the reef.
The Great Barrier Reef Could be a Major Loss if Destroyed
Due to an unprecedented wave of coral bleaching, a stretch of 900 miles of the Great Barrier Reef was affected. Although coral bleaching has occurred before, the last two waves happened in a short period of time, accelerating the event. Apart from the natural phenomena which cause two warm currents to merge that will bring damages to the coral, man-made climate changes only add to the problem. If normal conditions are not restored, the corals could be lost completely.
By adding the Great Barrier Reef to the list of endangered sites, UNESCO tried to attract attention towards the issue. The Australian government did not fail to follow UNESCO’s initiative and drafted the Reef 2050 Plan. This plan lists measures specifically designed to ensure the protection of the reef and preserve the ecosystem.
Josh Frydenberg, the Australian Minister of Environment and Energy, declared that important steps from the Reef 2050 Plan have already been implemented. On the other hand, Frydenberg is still a supporter of the Adani coal mine, which is still a controversial initiative.
Although UNESCO has crossed off the Reef from the endangered list, the organization still criticized the slow advancements in improving the water quality. Moreover, land clearing is still an issue that the Australian government needs to tackle better.
According to Deloitte Access Economics, the estimated value of the Great Barrier Reef is of $56 billion dollars. As a result, the coral system also provides 64,000 jobs to the Australian people, more than any other local corporate giants.
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