Conditions in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef have worsened, with a new episode of coral bleaching taking place, just as the UNESCO World Heritage Committee decided next month in China whether to be inscribed on the list of “endangered” World Heritage sites. The largest coral system in the world, stretching for 2,300 km off the northeastern coast of the continent.
A helicopter survey conducted in Australia’s summer 2021-22 by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority found that mass bleaching affected 91% of the shoals examined, according to the report cited by The Guardian Australia. It’s the fourth episode recorded so far since 2016 and the sixth since 1998. Bleaching occurs when coral is stressed by above-average water temperatures.
The animal in the coral expels the algae that carry out the photosynthesis process that coexists with them, feeding them and giving them attractive colors.
Lisa Schindler, campaign manager for the Australian Marine Conservation Society, told Australia’s Guardian newspaper that the agency’s report was “dreadful news for those who love the barrier” and “further evidence” that reducing fossil fuel emissions should be a top priority for the next moment. The Australian government after the federal election on May 21.
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