Australia has ordered an immediate ban on waste dumping in and around the Great Barrier Reef.
Like the Philippines’ Tubbataha Reef National Park, UNESCO is close to listing the reef as “In Danger.”
The UN was on the verge of listing the site as being in an environmental danger state, but Environmental Minister to Australia, Greg Hunt has ordered the park 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 seagrasses 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 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, Hunt added in a statement.
“Australians are proud of the reef and it remains one of the great natural wonders of the world,” Hunt said.
“We are determined to protect and manage the Great Barrier Reef not just for the coming decades, but for coming centuries.”