Saturday, April 25, 2009

The relation between coral reefs and our daily activities

by Charles Roring in Manokwari of West Papua - Indonesia


Coral reef is very important to us. It protects the coastal areas from stormy weather and high waves. It is the habitat of thousands species of fish. And it has been an important factor for the success operation of scuba diving industry and other marine related tourism development. Coral colonies are closely related to our daily life although we live far from them.



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Most of us do not know that our daily activities directly affect corals. When we irresponsibly throw garbage to the streets it will end up at sea during rainy season. Empty tote bags and other plastic materials can choke marine animals or cover mounds of coral reef thus blocking the sunlight which is essential for the photosynthesis of the corals.


Modern societies burn a lot of fossil fuel. They use gasoline to power cars, diesel oil to generate electricity. The CO2 emissions from these modern engines increase the global temperature. The famous term for this is Global Warming. In addition, the CO2 emissions increase the amount of acid rain which harms the corals. During El Nino huge areas of corals in sub-tropic and tropical region had died. It takes tens of years for the corals to restore their condition back to normal again.


Corals transplantations have been conducted by marine biologists and concerned people around the world hoping that they can revive the condition of corals. There are also other activities such as regular beach clean-ups, the banning of bottom trawling that are good for protecting coral reefs. But the most important thing that all of us have to do is changing our lifestyle. We can burn less fossil fuel by riding bicycles or public transportation to work. We can reduce the use of plastic bags by bringing our own bags to the nearby grocery stores. We can plant more trees at our own back yard. Or we can participate directly in beach clean up activities.


If all of us care about the survivability of coral reefs and change our lifestyle, the revival of coral reef colonies will be faster. Also read: Coral reef preservation websites; The damage of coral reefs caused by anchoring; The impact of marine tourism to local communities and coral reef environment