The Great Barrier Reef in Australia has been struggling in recent years. It’s been damaged by storms, its coral has been bleached thanks to warmer ocean waters, and much of the coral that hasn’t been bleached is being eaten by starfish. Luckily, the Australian government decided to do something about it.
The Australian Government Is Investing AU$500 Million
Over the past two years, the reef has been heavily hit by natural occurrences that have resulted in approximately 29% of the 3,863 reefs dying. Estimates show that it may take as much as 10 to 15 years to make a recovery, if at all. Thankfully, the Australian government is doing something about it. They’re investing 500 million Australian dollars to protect the Great Barrier Reef. That translates to over $377 million U.S. dollars.
The Money Will Go To The Great Barrier Reef Foundation
Most of that money will go to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation in an effort to fight the Crown-of-Thorns starfish that is eating the coral, limit pollution and just keep an overall eye on the reef’s health. The large sum of money being invested represents one of the largest in the history of the foundation. It doesn’t stop there, either. The foundation has a plan to allot a total of AU$2 billion ($1.5 billion USD) to reef management over the next ten years.
This Will Also Provide Employment For 64,000 People
Aside from the obvious environmental concerns, maintaining the health of the Great Barrier Reef has a substantial financial impact, too. The reef accounts for about AU$6.4 billion ($4.8 billion USD) in revenue to the Australian and Queensland economies. It also provides employment to about 64,000 people.
There Are Also Critics Of The Investment
There are plenty of critics of the investment, who state that while the money will likely impact pollution and water quality through enforcing laws and managing the harmful starfish, it won’t do a thing regarding the warming ocean waters that have done so much damage. They claim that this is simply not enough to save the reef.
The Investment Is Only The First Step
While the investment is very helpful, it is only the first step. The facts point to a far larger issue of global warming, and not even the substantial Australian investment is enough to put a dent in that issue. To truly guarantee the health of the Great Barrier Reef it will likely take a global movement to tackle climate change.