The world is beautified with endless natural delights including the Great Barrier Reef. Being one of the incredible natural wonders, it is the habitat of almost 600 coral types and 1625 fish species while stretching to 2300 km (approx) to the north-east coast of Australia. It has been proclaimed as the “site of remarkable variety and beauty” by UNESCO and is the largest living structure present on Earth. However, with the worsening state of global warming, it is suffering from major adverse consequences. The ocean water is rapidly getting warmer and the level of coral devastation is increasing which, can bring an unusual global crisis.
The survival of Great Barrier Reef typically depends on sincere efforts made by us to downsize the impact of global warming. Though the causes and effects of global warming are vast, however, degradation of this natural wonder needs serious attention and effective steps to combat against it. The corals have already lost some of the vivid colors which, previously used to attract annual sightseers. Furthermore, the bleaching effect has extended further in the south compared to last year.
How Global Warming is destroying this Natural Wonder
The Reef has been addressed as a World Heritage Area by now and needs to be preserved at any cost. One of the prime factors behind its rapid degradation is the pesticides and nutrients flowing to the ocean from cities and coastal farms of Queensland, which are heavily polluting the waters. However, scientists and environmentalists addressed that the warmer temperatures related to exhaustive climate change are the biggest contributor to destruction of this massive living structure. Corals are oceanic animals which, get their most of the food and colour from algae present in the water. Warmer temperature generally stresses algae which, further cause rich hues to get disappeared. As per the reports of the Climate Council of Australia, the Reef has experienced the highest temperature in early 2016 since the records ever began from 1900.
Because of prolonged algae, the corals are expelling algae which, has further led them to die due to hunger. To be more precise, around one-fifth of total amount of corals present in the reef has died because of bleaching in the last year. Bleaching has become highly intense in the northern region and thus, the coral mortality figure has arrived at an alarming stage. Though, while depending on the capacity of coral species to combat stress and distribution of different heat patterns across the waters, it has been proven that the reefs can revitalize for many years. However, this time, subsequent bleaching from 2 consecutive seasons of intense heat have given this living structure no such time to regain, thereby lowering the stress tolerance level of corals. Needless to say, there are plenty of actions which, we can initiate to promote the life of coral reefs. However, the first and foremost need is to educate ourselves about all the significant causes and effects of global warming.
We can take simple reforming steps such as using the alternative transportation modes like biking or walking, which, in turn, would decrease use of pollutants like gas and oil. We can opt for volunteering with reef and beach cleanup organizations and reduce the use of fertilizers and pesticides which get accumulated in oceans. All we need to do is promote awareness and bring a sense of commitment within ourselves to make sustainable choices for protecting the coral biodiversity.