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Queensland: Australia pledges to invest millions in Great Barrier Reef restoration

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Off the coast of Queensland, Australia, lays the world’s largest coral reef system, composed of nearly 3,000 individual reefs which are home to around 400 types of coral and 1500 species of fish: this is The Great Barrier Reef.

Hardy Reef, Whitsundays 

Back in 2016, marine heat waves caused by continuous global warming resulted in coral bleaching in two-thirds of the reef, triggering widespread morality of corals. Much of this impact was spread across 500 miles of the northern reefs - originally the most pristine region in the ecosystem.

Today the Australian Government has pledged more than 500 million Australian dollars ($379 million, approximately £275 million) to help preserve the Great Barrier Reef, in an attempt to better help and protect the site from the effects of climate change.

The Australian government intends to partner with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation as part of an ambitious conversation project to improve and monitor the long-term condition of the reef. In what will be the largest single investment for reef conservation in the country’s history, Mr. Frydenberg (representing the Australian Liberal Party) stated from the city of Cairns: “We’ll be improving the monitoring of the Reef’s health and the measurement of its impacts. The more we understand about the reef, the better we can protect it.”

But what exactly is the huge investment going to be spent on? Supposedly, the money will be used to improve water quality to consequently enhance underwater monitoring and invest in coral restoration. However, environmentalists have said the plan from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is nowhere near enough.

Tourism Queensland 

Despite the funding, global warming ultimately remains the biggest threat to the reef. In an article published by the journal Nature’only two weeks ago, scientists have declared that much of the damage is irreversible and the only solution is a global one: “Reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the use of fossil fuels, and get climate change under control.”

Climate change is here, and is so obviously happening.

As a result of human waste and irresponsibility, pollutant substances enter the lagoons week on week, month on month, year on year. Almost everyone knows precious ecosystems are in danger, and whilst there, fortunately, are vital conservation schemes in place, it’s schemes like Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef that us as individuals should involve with to make a difference.

Founder, Andy Ridley says that “We have to do everything we possibly can do to try to deal with the full problem, which is climate change”.

By 2050 it is expected that there will be more plastic in the ocean than there are fish – and with a single plastic bag possibly taking several hundred years to biodegrade, we could save up to 25,000 plastic bags in an average lifetime if all shoppers were to actively use re-useable cloth bags.

It may sound ambitious, but it’s recurring acts by a determined force that provoke real change – ultimately reducing the waste and climate change that has a devasting effect on treasured natural icons such as the Great Barrier Reef.

Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef is the world’s first collaborative movement for the Reef. Citizensgbr.org states: “We take a unique, data-driven approach to reef conservation that’s powered by you.

"From citizen science to sustainable fashion to ditching single-use plastics – everyone has a part to play.”

By committing to a brighter future for the reef, you can learn more about the cause and see the lifeline that you, amongst others, are giving back.

Together with the large-scale funding of the Australian government, restoring the Great Barrier Reef is essential. With it considered as one of the seven natural wonders of the world and being the largest living structure on the planet, we must respond now.

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