WWF Says Great Barrier Reef Declining Rapidly And Needs Billions

According to the latest science the Great Barrier Reef continues to decline rapidly and there is urgent requirement for a major injection of funds and stronger action to help it recover.

“Australians are deeply concerned that our national icon is dying on our watch. Governments must be prepared to commit billions to deliver major reductions in water pollution. Billions are being spent to save the Murray River – the Reef needs the same,” said WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman.

Mr. O’Gorman made his comments in response to the Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report which is a check up on the reef and a summary of its long term outlook conducted once every five years. According to Mr. O’Gorman the report and the science that went into compiling it serves as a “clear warning for all Australians about the state of the Reef”.

The report states: “…the overall outlook for the Great Barrier Reef is poor, has worsened since 2009, and is expected to further deteriorate in the future. Without promptly reducing threats, there is a serious risk that resilience will not be improved and there will be irreversible declines in the Region’s values.”

Major threats to the reef include climate change, the impact of coastal development including dredge spoil disposal, poor water quality from land based run off and the impact of fishing. Mr. O’Gorman added that there was an urgent need to get the Reef back into the best shape possible so that it is better equipped to handle climate change. He urged the Australian government to prohibit dumping of dredge spoil in the World Heritage Area.

Both the governments of Australia and Queensland also released their own reports on how to restore the health of the reef. The two governments have until next June to make their case to the World Heritage Committee that they are managing the reef properly or it will be listed as being ‘In Danger’.

The WWF has proposed a number of solutions which include the investment of billions of dollars to reduce catchment pollution and repair degraded ecosystems. The WWF also wants a ban on the dumping of dredge spoil in the Reef World Heritage Area.

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