The Great Barrier Reef has been under a microscope lately after numerous accounts of pollution have washed up. There has been coal, coal dust, and plastic pollution polluting the beaches and water along the Great Barrier Reef that has sparked major concerns within civil engineering firms and environmental consulting groups alike.
Every year, nearly 25% of the beaches along the U.S. coastline are closed at least once because of water pollution. It’s extremely important that organizations that could help, and certainly those that are accidentally contributing to the pollution, work with civil and environmental engineering firms to limit the damages.
According to Yahoo News, even the smallest particles that are ending up washing ashore near the Great Barrier Reef are causing severe damage.
“There are different ways that coal can cause harm to plants and animals,” said Kathryn Berry, a PhD candidate at James Cook University in Queensland. “The direct physic effects include smothering and abrasion of plant and animal tissues. When small coal particles are suspended in the water, light levels can be reduced, meaning there is less light reaching plants that require it to photosynthesize.”
In addition to coal showing up near the Reef and harming the wildlife, coral bleaching is also harming its health. Traditionally, aerial photos are captured while flying at 10,000 feet in the air. After an aerial survey was conducted in early March, it has been reveled that the Reef is suffering from its second major coral bleaching event in the last 12 months.
Because of these mass bleaching events and poor overall water quality, governments have stepped up progress to actually protect the Reef.
“The Reef remains in trouble,” said Dr. Steven Miles, State Environment Minister. “We know the reef is under severe stress and it is essential we do everything in our power to support its resilience and recovery. Improving the quality of water flowing to the Reef is critical in achieving this.”
The Courier Mail reports that the coral bleaching news comes just days before an event held at the World Heritage Centre in Switzerland that will feature state and federal environmental departments, civil engineering firms, and researchers to discuss the Reef’s deteriorating health.
A legal limit on pollution entering the Reef will be set for the first time in history in order to protect it.