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19th July 2021

19th July 2021: List

Great Barrier Reef

  • It is located offshore Queensland, Australia in the Coral Sea.

  • It was added to UNESCO World Heritage List in 1981.

  • It is the world’s most extensive coral reef ecosystem composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands.

  • It is the world’s biggest single structure made by living organisms.

  • It can be seen from outer space  as well.

About the coral reefs:

  • The constituting unit of a coral reef is Coral polyps.  

  • Polyps are genetically identical organisms, which are tiny and soft-bodied.

  • Their base is form of a hard, protective limestone skeleton called a calicle, which forms the basic structure of coral reefs.

  • The coral polyps have microscopic algae called zooxanthellae living within their tissue in a symbiotic relationship.

Why in the News?

  • The UNESCO World Heritage Committee has recommended the inclusion of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef to a list of “in danger” World heritage sites, as it lost half of its corals since 1995.

  • Significance of the move:

    • The sites are included in this list to gain extra international attention and effort to save these sites.

Why is this move and issue involved?

  • Despite the programme Reef 2050, the coral reef ecosystem has suffered three major bleaching events since 2015 due to severe marine heatwaves accorded to climate change.

  • Australia has opposed the move saying that global warming is responsible for the loss, while UNESCO experts said that the pollution run-off has contributed to the loss.

Impact of the move?

  • It prompted environmental groups to highlight the Australian government's reluctance to take stronger climate action.

  • Australia is one of the world's largest carbon emitters per capita and has shown reluctance to commit to stronger climate action and has cited jobs as a major reason to back the country's fossil fuel industries., furtherIt has not updated its climate goals since 2015.

What is Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan:

  • It is the Australian and Queensland Government’s overarching framework for protecting and managing the Great Barrier Reef by 2050.

Marine Heatwaves: It is an event of anomalous warm sea surface temperatures (SST​) from several days to years.

Initiatives to Protect Corals:

  • International Coral reef initiatives

  • Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN)

  • Global Coral Reef Alliance (GCRA)

  • In India:

    • Inclusion of the studies on coral reefs under the Coastal Zone Studies (CZS).

    • Restoration of the Coral reefs using Biorock or mineral accretion technology by Zoological survey of India with help of Gujarat Forest department. 

    • National Coastal Mission Programme which aims to protect and sustain coral reefs in the country.

Largest Coral Reef Area in World:

  • Indonesia caters to the largest coral reef area in the world.

  • India, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Chagos together have the maximum coral reefs in South Asia.

  • The Great Barrier Reef is the largest aggregation of coral reefs.

Coral Reef Areas in India:

  1. Gulf of Mannar

  2. Andaman and Nicobar

  3. Lakshadweep island

  4. Gulf of Kutch.

19th July 2021: Text
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