Great Barrier Reef

 

Context:

 

  • Australian Government launched a USD 700 million package for protecting the Great Barrier Reef, in a hope of preventing vast network of corals from being removed from World Heritage list of UNESCOS’.
  • The Plan will help in avoid the reef from being placed on UNESCO’s “in danger” list.

 

About the Plan

 

  • When the United Nations had earlier threatened to downgrade World Heritage listing of reef in 2015, Australia had created a “Reef 2050” plan and invested billions of dollars into protection.
  • The measures are believed to have stopped the pace of decline. however, much of reef system has already been damaged.

 

Bleaching of coral reefs

 

  • According to a recent study, bleaching had affected 98 percent of the reef since 1998.
  • Only a fraction of the reef is left untouched.
  • Bleaching occurs when healthy corals become stressed due to increasing ocean temperatures.
  • High temperature causes them to expel algae living in their tissues.
  • The algae drain them of their vibrant colours.
  • Australian reef has undergone three mass bleaching events during heatwaves in 2016, 2017 as well as 2020.
  • Bleaching events have left corals on struggle for survival.

 

The Great Barrier Reef
  • It is the world’s largest coral reef system, comprising of more than 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands.
  • The system stretches for over 2,300 kilometres, on an area of 344,400 square kilometres.
  • It is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland in Australia.
  • It is separated from the coast through a channel 100 miles wide and around 200 feet deep.
  • The Reef system can be seen from outer space. It is the world’s biggest single structure made by living organisms.
  • The reef system supports a wide diversity of life and was designated as a World Heritage Site in 1981.
  • The Great Barrier Reef is composed of and built by billions of tiny organisms.
  • These organisms are known as coral polyps.
  • As the world’s most extensive coral reef ecosystem, the Great Barrier Reef is a globally outstanding and significant entity.
  • Practically the entire ecosystem was inscribed as World Heritage in 1981.

Source: THE HINDU.

 

 

 

 

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