Why Are Coral Reefs in Danger?

60% can disappear in the next 30 years…

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Percent coral reefs left

Globally, right now

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TheWorldCounts, 19 May, 2014

60% can disappear in the next 30 years…

To date, we still have around 74% of our coral reefs left. The continuously growing human population and global warming is threatening our coral reefs – where 25% of marine animals live and where 90% of them rely on for one reason or another. The whole marine ecosystem is being threatened by the loss of our reefs.

Some of the factors which are killing the corals are the increasing temperature of our oceans, ocean acidification, coral bleaching, unethical fishing methods, water pollution, sedimentation and human activities.

More: Threats on Coral Reefs

How are we affecting our Coral Reefs?

Did you know that every time you step on a coral, you are killing an organism that has been growing for the last 5,000 to 10,000 years? Our reefs grow at a rate of 0.3 cm to 10 cm a day. That’s why they won’t be able to grow fast enough to replenish those that are being destroyed.

We have contributed to the demise of the coral reef directly and indirectly. Unethical fishing methods have been banned to protect our remaining coral reefs. Most of the damages done are even unintentional - boats passing through, poorly informed divers and swimmers and tourism. Indirectly, humans have damaged the environment with pollution and it’s reaching our oceans. This has had an effect in the health of our coral reefs.

More: How Pollution Affects the Environment

Did you know that Corals are Animals?

Have you ever gone snorkeling or diving before? From above, corals look like rocks… but they are really very fragile and beautiful animals. Yes, they are alive! They can be included then in the list of animals who are in danger of extinction.

There are organizations who are trying to save what remains of our coral reefs. They are encouraging countries to preserve what’s left and to stop illegal fishing practices. From our end, we believe that spreading information about the threats to our coral reefs, what they are and how they affect our lives, is a big step towards removing the direct threats.

Next time you go swimming or diving, you won’t be taking home a piece of coral with you, right? Or maybe use the coral to stand on? Remember, they’re alive but they can’t protect themselves. Let’s help protect them from ourselves.

Read more stories on how you can help save our environment in small meaningful ways. Go to The World Counts: Stories.

References

  1. International Coral Reef Initiative
  2. EarthShare: Coral Reefs – Treasures of the Ocean in Danger

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Tons of discarded fish

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