“Water and air, the two essentials on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans.” ― Jacques-Yves Cousteau
Coral reefs are dying globally. Damage is caused by pollution, over fishing, blast fishing and climate change which in extreme cases the warming water results in bleached coral that can kill the coral. As of now, up to 25% of corals around the world are damaged likely beyond repair. It is estimated that up to 50% of the Great Barrier Reef off Australia is dead. This enormous reef is 2,600 km in length, comprises about 3,000 individual reefs and 900 islands. Just imagine country the size of Italy lying off the Australian coast. It can actually be seen from space.
So what is a coral? Corals are formed by tiny creatures called polyps that have a sac-like body with emerging tentacles. Corals gain their rock-like structure from the polyps as they use calcium and carbonate ions from the seawater to create a hard outer skeleton to protect their soft bodies. Corals are nocturnal and under cover of darkness the polyps emerge to catch small creatures passing by. The reef is home to 30 species of whale, turtles, many species of sea snakes and more than 1500 species of fish which is roughly 10% of all species of fish on the planet.
How can you help? Firstly, encourage responsible tourism, research before you book and obtain the tour company’s attitude to access to the reef. Use only sunscreen products that are formulated to avoid damage, Oxybenzone and Octinoxate are common ingredients in many sunscreens, but they can damage or even kill the coral reefs.Use products such as stream2sea which is a mineral sunscreen that is tested and proven to be safe for fish and coral They also use eco friendly packaging, visit https://stream2sea.com
Join groups that are working to preserve the environment and avoid single use plastics and encourage others to do the same.