Protect the Coral Reefs

May 15, 2013
Coral reefs are sometimes known as the “rainforests of the seas” because of the diversity among the species that they hold. Even though coral reefs occupy less than 1% of the world’s ocean surface, they are home to 25% of the world’s marine species. This “25%” represents life… Life that is being destroyed. Coral reefs are being ruined at this very moment.

With that said, many may be wondering “How exactly are coral reefs being destroyed?”. I have one simple answer for that question: human activity and climate change. To be specific, coral mining, agricultural and urban runoff, pollution, overfishing, blast fishing, disease, and the digging of canals into islands and bays cause threats to coral ecosystems. Because of this, 20% of the world’s coral reefs have already been destroyed, and no signs of recovery are imminent. 60% of coral reefs are currently in danger, in the 2030s, 90% should be in danger, and by 2050, all coral reefs will be in danger.

Also with that said, many may be wondering “How does the destruction of coral reefs affect humans?”. Well, coral reefs protect shores from the impact of waves and from storms, and they provide benefits to humans through food and medicine, such as being used in the treatment of cancer, HIV, and other illnesses. Most importantly, they provide economic benefits to local communities because of tourism. The value of coral reefs is estimated to be about $375 billion every year when you take into account jobs, food, and tourism. This money contributes so greatly to economies all over the world.

With that said, we need to do everything possible to keep the coral reefs thriving. We can’t be the cause of the destruction of these ecosystems, the lives of these beautiful marine animals. We need to be the cause of the upkeep of these homes of the sea. We can do this by creating MPAs, or marine protected areas, and marine reserve networks, which can keep reefs healthy. We can also make sure that the water surrounding coral reefs is kept clean and that the fish community living within the coral reefs are healthy. If you look at the health of coral reefs on a larger scale, however, you will see that the biggest thing is to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide causes coral bleaching and ocean acidification which makes it hard for corals to build skeletons. We need to become a “green world”.

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