Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα Great Barrier Reef. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων
Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα Great Barrier Reef. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων

Σάββατο, 24 Ιανουαρίου 2015

Australia bans waste dumping on Great Barrier Reef

Australia has ordered a ban on dumping dredge waste on most of the Great Barrier Reef, the environment minister said on Saturday (Jan 24), as part of a push to stop the UN declaring the site in danger.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt said he had ordered the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to develop regulations to stop waste from capital dredging being dumped in the park "once and for all". "We are ending a century-old practice of dumping in the marine park," he said, referring to waste created by enlarging shipping channels, berths and marinas.

Conservationists say dumping waste in reef waters damages it by smothering corals and sea grasses and exposing them to poisons and high levels of nutrients.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has threatened to put the reef, which is a World Heritage area, on its danger list. The body has given Australia until Feb 1 to act and Hunt said he would travel to Europe next week to consult on long-term plans for the natural wonder.

Hunt said the government had put together "a strong defence of the management of the Great Barrier Reef ... concluding that it should not be listed as in danger".
The reef also faces threats from climate change, nutrients washing into the sea and the destructive crown-of-thorns starfish, and the government was working on each of them, he added in a statement. But he said water quality was improving, coral-eating starfish were being culled and stricter management regimes have been put in place for shipping and developments, including ports.

"Australians are proud of the reef and it remains one of the great natural wonders of the world," he said. "We are determined to protect and manage the Great Barrier Reef not just for the coming decades, but for coming centuries."

The park where the ban will apply almost totally overlaps with an expanse designated as a World Heritage Area, but it does not include most islands and ports, as well as lakes and other waterways in the heritage area.

Environmental groups have urged the minister to go a step further and prohibit the dumping of dredge soil throughout the World Heritage Area, not just within the marine park.
The ban will now be subject to public consultation, with final approval expected by mid-March.


Τετάρτη, 13 Αυγούστου 2014

Poor outlook warned for Great Barrier Reef (five-yearly review to address UNESCO)

Australia's Great Barrier Reef remains under threat despite efforts to rein in major sources of damage to the World Heritage-listed icon, the government said on Tuesday.

Canberra released a five-yearly review of the reef and moves to protect it, to address concerns raised by UNESCO and persuade the world body not to put the key tourist attraction on its "in danger" list next year. "Even with the recent management initiatives to reduce threats and improve resilience, the overall outlook for the Great Barrier Reef is poor, has worsened since 2009 and is expected to further deteriorate," the government said in its outlook report.

The reef, which stretches 2,300 kilometers along Australia's east coast, is the centerpiece of a campaign by green groups and marine tourist operators aiming to stop a planned coal port expansion that would require millions of cubic meters of sand to be dredged up and dumped near the reef.

The reef has the world's largest collection of coral reefs, with 400 types of coral, 1,500 species of fish, 4,000 types of mollusc, and is home to threatened species, the World Heritage list says.

The government said run-off from farms, crown-of-thorns starfish and climate change remain the biggest threats to the reef, but acknowledged that shipping and dredging occur in reef areas already facing pressure from other impacts. "Greater reductions of all threats at all levels, reef-wide, regional and local, are required to prevent the projected declines in the Great Barrier Reef and to improve its capacity to recover," the government said.

The government said it would not allow any port development outside long-established ports in Queensland. Those existing ports include Abbot Point, where India's Adani Group and compatriot GVK plan a huge coal terminal expansion, and Gladstone, where ship traffic is set to increase sharply from 2015 as huge new liquefied natural gas plants start exports.

Green groups said the report did not let off the hook the mining industry, which is digging up coal for export, adding to climate change and expanding ports along the reef. "The greatest risk, again, is climate change," said Wendy Tubman, an official of the North Queensland Conservation Council.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has asked Australia to submit an updated report on the state of conservation of the reef, which sprawls over an area half the size of Texas, by next February 1. 

Sources: Reuters -  globaltimes.cn


Πέμπτη, 19 Ιουνίου 2014

Australia hails Barrier Reef deferral. Environmentalists call UNESCO decision "final warning"

Australia Thursday called a decision by UNESCO to defer listing the Great Barrier Reef as in danger "a win for logic," but environmentalists said it was a final warning.

The UN cultural agency on Wednesday said the reef could be put on a list of endangered World Heritage Sites if more was not done to protect it.

It voiced alarm at a "serious decline in the condition" of the reef, and said "a business as usual approach to managing the property is not an option."

Australia was given until February 1 next year to submit a report on what it was doing to protect the natural wonder. The Queensland state government saw the deferral as "a tick of approval."

"I welcome this decision by UNESCO's World Heritage Committee, which gives Queensland a big tick and it gives the work we are doing a big tick," state Environment Minister Andrew Powell said.

"Our strong plan to protect the Great Barrier Reef is already producing positive results, creating a brighter future that Queenslanders and tourists from around the world can enjoy. This decision is also a win for logic and science rather than rhetoric and scaremongering."

The reef is one of the most biodiverse places on Earth, but is under pressure not only from climate change and the coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish, but agricultural runoff and development linked to mining.

  • UNESCO raised particular concerns about the approval in December of a massive coal port expansion in the region and allowing the dumping of millions of tons of dredge waste within the marine park waters.
Green groups said the government was on its final warning, and had "clearly not lived up to the standards expected by the international community."

"The World Heritage Committee has resisted intense pressure from the Australian and Queensland governments to water down its decision on the reef," said WWF-Australia reef campaigner Richard Leck, who is in Doha for the committee's annual meeting.

"Instead, the committee has put Australia firmly on notice to take stronger action to protect the Great Barrier Reef."

"This is a victory for the millions around the world who say our reef is not a dump."

The World Heritage Committee is also due to consider a request from Australia to de-list 74,000 hectares (183,000 acres) of the Tasmanian Wilderness, one of the last expanses of temperate rainforest in the world.

The move, which could give access to loggers, has been denounced by environmental groups and led to thousands protesting last weekend outside Tasmania's state parliament in Hobart.

Sources: AFP - globaltimes.cn


Τετάρτη, 18 Ιουνίου 2014

UNESCO to decide if Australia's Great Barrier Reef is in danger

The United Nations world heritage body UNESCO will decide on Wednesday whether to list Australia's Great Barrier Reef as "in danger."

Concerns were raised in May over the decision to allow dredging near the reef, the ABC reported.

UNESCO recommended adding the reef to the World Heritage in Danger list in 2015, unless the Queensland Government took further action to protect it.

The committee is meeting this week in Doha and Queensland Environment Minister Andrew Powell is also there to convince UNESCO the reef is not in danger.

"I'm very confident that there won't be a decision at this session," he said.

"We've delivered nearly everything that UNESCO has asked of us, and by next year we'll have done that."

  • However, Josh Coates from the Cairns and Far North Environment Center said despite the action taken by the government to protect the reef, there were an "unprecedented number" of dredging proposals along the Queensland coast.
  • "Those are actually going to be releasing more sediments and more nutrients into the water column, impacting on the reef and their in-shore environments," he said. 
Sources :Xinhua  - globaltimes.cn


Πέμπτη, 1 Μαΐου 2014

UNESCO condemns dredge waste dumping in Barrier Reef waters

UNESCO on Thursday condemned a decision to allow the dumping of dredge waste in Great Barrier Reef waters and recommended the Australian marine park be considered for inclusion on the World Heritage in Danger list.
The decision in January to allow three million cubic metres of dredge waste to be disposed of in park waters followed a decision by the government to give the green light to a major coal port expansion for India's Adani Group on the reef coast in December.
Conservationists warn it could hasten the demise of the reef, which is already considered to be in "poor" health, with dredging smothering corals and seagrasses and exposing them to poisons and elevated levels of nutrients.

In its first comments on the issue, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization "noted with concern" and "regrets" the move, which it said "was approved despite an indication that less-impacting disposal alternatives may exist".
It asked the government to provide a new report to the World Heritage Committee proving that dumping was the least damaging option and would not hurt the reef's value.
More generally, UNESCO expressed concern "regarding serious decline in the condition of the Great Barrier Reef, including in coral recruitment and reef-building across extensive parts of the property".
The body said "a business-as-usual approach to managing the property is not an option".
Given the reef's long-term deterioration, it recommended the World Heritage Commitee consider putting it on its in danger list in 2015 "in the absence of substantial progress on key issues".
WWF Australia spokesman Richard Leck said the government needed to act quickly to prevent the embarrassment of the reef being listed as in danger....................https://sg.news.yahoo.com/unesco-condemns-dredge-waste-dumping-barrier-reef-waters-030016633.html

Σάββατο, 30 Νοεμβρίου 2013

The battle for Tasmania's wilderness

Could the government have the 2013 addition to the Tasmanian World Heritage Area revoked, asks John Pickrell.  
AUSTRALIA’S WORLD HERITAGE areas are having a tough time. In 2013 it was revealed that the Great Barrier Reef had lost half its coral cover since the 1980s. Now, due to a series of port developments for coal and gas exports, it is hanging under the threat of ending up on the “List of World Heritage in Danger”, the precursor to World Heritage status being removed.

It would be embarrassing for this to happen in one of the world’s wealthiest nations, one that holds under its guardianship perhaps the most famous natural World Heritage Area (WHA) on the planet. 

While we await the World Heritage Committee’s decision on the reef, it now appears that the Tasmanian Wilderness WHA could be at similar risk. In June 2013, the committee voted to add 1700sq.km to the existing 14,000sq.km protected area, which now covers 22 per cent of Tasmania.

Stunning strips of forest

The additions comprise many stunning strips of forest along the eastern and northern borders of the existing WHA, which grew to envelop areas including the eastern- and northern Great Western Tiers; Mount Field National Park; and the Huon, Styx, Upper Florentine, Picton and Counsel river valleys.

The extension was well received by conservation workers and environmentalists who believed these areas were now protected in perpetuity. It seemed a fitting way to mark 30 years since the High Court decision that saved the Franklin River from damming in July 1983.

However, in the run-up to September’s federal election, the Coalition said it did not agree with the extension, which had been formalised under the Labor government, and it would seek to have part of it delisted from the WHA if it was elected.

Value of Tasmanian forests

This has been reiterated since the election and was confirmed to AG by Richard Colbeck, Liberal senator for Tasmania and parliamentary secretary to the Minister for Agriculture. Will Hodgman, Tasmania’s Liberal opposition leader, has said that if his party wins the state election in March 2014, they’ll allow logging in parts of the extension that were previously state forest. Environmentalists say that this would be an unprecedented act of ecological vandalism.

About one-third of the newly added area is made up of pre-existing national parks and reserves that have pristine old growth woodlands and tall eucalypt forests that are of undisputed value. However, Mark Poynter of the Institute of Foresters of Australia has argued that, as the extension was not scientifically assessed for World Heritage values, it inappropriately included heavily disturbed former state forest areas.

He also says that the area added in June was ushered in as a “minor boundary modification”. The World Heritage Committee accepts these small modifications without the independent scientific analysis of value and wilderness quality that it requires for larger areas. The June addition was allowed despite the fact that minor boundary modifications typically constitute no more than a 10 per cent increase to the area of a WHA, and the new addition represented a 12 per cent increase.

Legal complications

The problem now for the Coalition is that it may not be legally permissible for recent additions to be removed. This has never been attempted in Australia and there is little experience of it internationally – usually governments fight to have territory added to the World Heritage List, not removed. Even more worryingly, if logging was to occur in disputed areas, it might place the entire WHA under threat of going on the danger list.

Some argue that removing the new areas with the minor boundary modification rule is unlikely to succeed, as they protect the integrity of the overall WHA, but this remains to be seen. One legal option would be to renounce Australia’s support for the entire World Heritage Convention, but we have to hope the government will come to its senses and realise that this is a step too far.

John Pickrell is the editor of Australian Geographic. Follow him on Twitter @john_pickrell.
Source: Australian Geographic Nov/Dec 2013
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Πέμπτη, 7 Νοεμβρίου 2013

Μαζική Επέλαση Από Αστερίες Απειλεί τον Μεγάλο Κοραλλιογενή Ύφαλο της Αυστραλίας.

Ένα «τσουνάμι» από αστερίες απειλεί τον Μεγάλο Κοραλλιογενή Ύφαλο της Αυστραλίας (Great Barrier Reef), γνωστό για τη σπάνια ομορφιά του σε ολόκληρο τον κόσμο.
Σύμφωνα με το Αυστραλιανό Ινστιτούτο Θαλάσσιων Ερευνών που εδρεύει στο Τάουνσβιλ του Κουίνσλαντ, αυτή είναι η τέταρτη φορά από το 1960 που αστερίες απειλούν τον Κοραλλιογενή Ύφαλο.

Το Ινστιτούτο υποστηρίζει πως τα απόβλητα που πέφτουν στην θάλασσα «τρέφουν» το συγκεκριμένο είδος αστερία (starfish), ο οποίος, επίσης, τρέφεται με μικροοργανισμούς που βοηθούν στην ανάπτυξη των κοραλλιών.

Η συγκεκριμένη περιοχή ήταν από τις πρώτες που ένταξε ο ΟΗΕ στη λίστα των προστατευόμενων μνημείων της παγκόσμιας κληρονομιάς και αποτελεί για την Αυστραλία έναν από τους κυριότερους τουριστικούς προορισμούς.

Τελευταία έχει υποστεί όμως πολλές ζημιές. Το 48% των ζημιών προκλήθηκε από τους κυκλώνες και το 42% από τους αστερίες που αναπτύχθηκαν πάρα πολύ τα τελευταία χρόνια, λόγω των φυτοφαρμάκων που φτάνουν στη θάλασσα από τα ποτάμια και μόνο ένα 10% της καταστροφής οφείλεται στη λεύκανση που προκαλεί η άνοδος της θερμοκρασίας στους Ωκεανούς.

  • Video: The Catlin Seaview Survey, a major scientific study of The Great Barrier Reef, have been using a specially designed underwater camera to capture underwater imagery, as part of their expedition to document the composition and health of coral reefs. Here's a look at how this group of passionate ocean enthusiasts are sharing their story with the world.

Δευτέρα, 29 Οκτωβρίου 2012

Αχτίδα ελπίδας για το Μεγάλο Κοραλλιογενή Ύφαλο

 Ο Μεγάλος Κοραλλιογενής Ύφαλος, το μεγαλύτερο κοραλλιογενές οικοσύστημα στον κόσμο, είναι υγιής σε μεγάλο βάθος, αποκαλύπτουν βαθυσκάφη, τα οποία καταδύθηκαν με σκοπό να τον χαρτογραφήσουν.
Η επιφάνειά του είναι «πληγωμένη», όμως οι χειριστές του ρομποτικού βαθυσκάφους ελπίζουν ότι τα νέα ευρήματα θα βοηθήσουν μακροπρόθεσμα στην αποκατάσταση και αυτών των κοραλλιών.

«Μέχρι σήμερα οι γνώσεις μας περιορίζονταν στους ρηχούς υφάλους, στους οποίους έχουν πρόσβαση οι δύτες», αναφέρει σε γραπτή ανακοίνωση ο καθηγητής Όβε Χέι - Γκούλντμπεργκ από την αποστολή Catlin Seaview Survey που μελετά τους υφάλους με τη βοήθεια νέων τεχνολογιών. «Στην πραγματικότητα, η εικόνα που είχαμε δεν ήταν ολοκληρωμένη».
Τα βαθυσκάφη «είδαν» υγιή κοράλλια σε βάθη 30 έως 120 μέτρων, ακριβώς κάτω από περιοχές του Μεγάλου Κοραλλιογενούς Υφάλου, οι οποίες είναι εντελώς κατεστραμμένες. «Κάποιες από τις ρηχές περιοχές των υφάλων, όπου είχαμε καταδυθεί στο παρελθόν, έχουν καταστραφεί ολοσχερώς από κυκλώνες, αλλά σε βάθος 40 μέτρων και κάτω, οι περιοχές αυτές είναι σχεδόν ανέγγιχτες», διευκρινίζει ο επικεφαλής της μελέτης Πιμ Μπόνχερτς από το Πανεπιστήμιο του Κουίνσλαντ.
Τους επιστήμονες εντυπωσίασε η πληθώρα και η ποικιλομορφία των κοραλλιών στον ύφαλο, ακόμη και σε σχετικά μικρό βάθος, 70 και 80 μέτρων κάτω από την επιφάνεια της θάλασσας. Κάποια από τα είδη που εντόπισαν σε αυτές τις περιοχές απαντώνται και σε μικρότερα βάθη. Αυτό, κατά τους ίδιους, ίσως δείχνει ότι τα είδη αυτά ανήκουν στον ίδιο πληθυσμό και θα μπορούσαν να διαδραματίσουν καθοριστικό ρόλο σε μελλοντικές προσπάθειες αποκατάστασης των κατεστραμμένων κοραλλιών.
«Προκαλεί έκπληξη το γεγονός ότι, ακόμη και αυτήν την εποχή, κάτω από κάποιους από τους γνωστότερους υφάλους υπάρχει ένας σχεδόν ανεξερεύνητος κόσμος, άρα πρέπει να γίνουν πολλές επιστημονικές μελέτες», επισημαίνει ο Μπόνχερτς. Μέχρι στιγμής η ομάδα του έχει ολοκληρώσει τέσσερις από τις δέκα προγραμματισμένες αποστολές της στο - μήκους 2.300 χιλιομέτρων- Μεγάλο Κοραλλιογενή Ύφαλο.
Σύμφωνα με έκθεση του Ινστιτούτου Θαλάσσιας Επιστήμης της Αυστραλίας, η οποία δόθηκε στη δημοσιότητα πριν από λίγες ημέρες, τα κοράλλια στο ρηχό τμήμα του υφάλου έχουν συρρικνωθεί κατά περισσότερο από 50% τα τελευταία 27 χρόνια, κυρίως λόγω των κυκλώνων, αλλά και της ρύπανσης και της λεύκανσής τους που προκαλείται από την άνοδο της θερμοκρασίας των υδάτων. 

Τετάρτη, 3 Οκτωβρίου 2012

Υπό εξαφάνιση ο μεγαλύτερος κοραλλιογενής ύφαλος

Σύμφωνα με μια νέα έρευνα το 50% του κοραλλιογενούς υφάλου της Αυστραλίας έχει εξαφανιστεί. Toυς παράγοντες που απειλούν ιδιαίτερα τους υφάλους, παρουσιάζει το ντοκιμαντέρ της DW «Στον κόσμο του Ναμάτι».
Τις τεράστιες διαστάσεις που έχει πάρει η καταστροφή του Great Barrier Reef, του μεγαλύτερου υφάλου παγκοσμίως, διαπίστωσαν οι ερευνητές του Πανεπιστημίου  Wollongong. Η έρευνα δημοσιεύτηκε στο περιοδικό Proceeding National Academy of Sciences. Σύμφωνα με αυτήν, τα τελευταία 27 χρόνια έχουν εξαφανιστεί τα μισά κοράλλια της Αυστραλίας.

Το γεγονός αυτό –και αυτό είναι το πιο εντυπωσιακό- δεν οφείλεται στην αλλαγή του κλίματος και την επακόλουθη αύξηση της θερμοκρασίας και οξύτητας της θάλασσας, αλλά  σε τροπικούς τυφώνες και έναν αστερία με την ονομασία Acanthaster planci ή «κορώνα των αγκαθιών». Ο αστερίας τρέφεται με τη «σάρκα» των κοραλλιών, και κατάφερε να εξαπλωθεί εύκολα τις τελευταίες δεκαετίες, εξαιτίας της αύξησης των θρεπτικών ουσιών της θάλασσας, που προέρχονται από διάφορα λύματα, τα οποία καταλήγουν στη θάλασσα.

Οι αιτίες της φυσικής καταστροφής

Η καταστροφή των υφάλων είναι αναστρέψιμη, υποστηρίζουν Αυστραλοί ερευντηές

Έτσι ο επίμαχος αστερίας αποτελεί τον κύριο εχθρό των κοραλλιών. Οι Αυστραλοί ερευνητές θεωρούν ότι ευθύνεται για το 50% των καταστραμμένων κοραλλιών. Το ένα τρίτο περίπου υποστηρίζουν ότι έχει εξαφανιστεί εξαιτίας των τυφώνων, που πλήττουν συχνά την περιοχή. Μόλις στην τρίτη θέση έρχεται η αλλαγή του κλίματος και η αύξηση της οξύτητας του νερού. Το διοξείδιο του άνθρακα ενώνεται με το νερό και δημιουργεί ανθρακικό οξύ. Ο αποχρωματισμός των κοραλλιών, που προκύπτει από αυτή τη διαδικασία, ευθύνεται για το 18% των απωλειών. Ιδιαίτερα καταστροφικές για τους υφάλους υπήρξαν οι χρονιές 1998 και 2002.

Η εξαφάνιση των κοραλλιών είναι όμως αναστρέψιμη, όπως υποστηρίζει ο Τζων Γκαν, διευθυντής του Ινστιτούτου Θαλάσσιων Επιστημών της Αυστραλίας. Τα κοράλλια θα μπορούσαν να ανακάμψουν σε βάθος χρόνου εφόσον, φυσικά, σταματήσει η διοχέτευση των λυμάτων στη θάλασσα.

«Στον κόσμο του Ναμάτι»

Περισσότερα για τις ανησυχίες και τις ελπίδες των κοραλλιών μπορείτε να μάθετε στο διαδραστικό ντοκιμαντέρ της Ντόιτσε Βέλε «Στον κόσμο του Ναμάτι-Όνειρα και φόβοι ενός μικρού κοραλλιού στον Νότιο Ειρηνικό».Η ιστορία του Γιοάχιμ Έγκερς ταξιδεύει τον χρήστη στον θαλάσσιο κόσμο στα παράλια του νησιού Πελέ στο κρατίδιο Βανουάτου του Ειρηνικού.


Fabian Schmidt / Αλεξάνδρα Κοσμά
Υπεύθ. Σύνταξης: Δήμητρα Κυρανούδη

Οι νεκροί Έλληνες στα μακεδονικά χώματα σάς κοιτούν με οργή

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