The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) of Australia is wonder filled with diverse marine life from corals to whales. It is 2300 Km long and extends across 346000 sq.km area. It was included in the world heritage site in 1981. The great barrier reef can be seen from outer space and is the single structure made by living organisms.
The reef system faces several environmental challenges and the key threat is climate change which has led to big events of coral bleaching in 2016, 2017 and 2020. A finding reaffirmed by a 2020 study states that half of the coral reef cover to have been lost between 1995 and 2017 along with widespread effect of 2020 bleaching. UNESCO’s move to list GBR as ‘in danger’ because drastic coral decline has brought pressure on Australian government to review its record on climate change.
Bleaching takes place when change in temperature of the ocean stress healthy corals, causing them to expel algae living in their tissues – draining them of their vibrant color.
In December International Union for Conservation of Nature said Climate change has become the biggest threat to UN listed natural world heritage sites and pushed the reef into critical condition.
Reference: The Hindu, NDTV