Australia’s Great Barrier Reef’s health ‘improving’

Pollution at the Great Barrier Reef has fallen significantly, Australia says, as it seeks to convince the UN cultural agency not to downgrade the site. UNESCO has threatened to list the World Heritage site as “in danger” because of “significant threats” to the reef. On Thursday, Queensland’s state government said it had cut pesticide and nitrogen loads in the area. But critics say the dumping of dredged sediment still threatens the reef.

The reef is now on the pathway to long-term improvement.

Queensland Environment Minister Andrew Powell

The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral structure, rich in marine life. It stretches for more than 2,300 km along Australia’s eastern coast. In January, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority approved a project to dump dredged sediment in the Great Barrier Reef marine park as part of a project to create one of the world’s biggest coal ports. Scientists have warned that the sediment could smother or poison coral.

The resources industry are now set to undo that good work with destructive plans for dumping in the World Heritage Area.

World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF) spokesman Sean Hoobin