29 January 2022.
On January 28, 2022, Australia launched a new plan to protect the climate-ravaged Great Barrier Reef.
- 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.
Reef 2050 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.