DUMPING DREDGE BANNED ON GREAT BARRIER

 DUMPING DREDGE BANNED ON GREAT BARRIER

‘Dredge dumping is going to be banned on the Great Barrier Reef, but environmental agencies are still questioning the government’s approach.’
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is in danger of ending up on the list of World Heritage Sites if dumping of dredge spoil happens the same way it has been in recent years. The Federal Government, therefore, has announced a plan of dumping the plan.
Dredging has occurred in coastal waters along the 2300km-long reef to allow large coal, gas and other resource carriers to access ports. Sand, clay and rock sediments damage reef sites that they are dumped on, but can also drift for up to 100 km.
The World Heritage Committee therefore expressed concern that the rate of expansion of Queensland ports could put the Great Barrier Reef on the World Heritage Sites list, which could be a dubious distinction for Australia because very few other developed nations are on that list.
However, environmental agencies are still questioning the approach of the government, since the reef is less than one percent of the larger Heritage Area. More than 80% of the dumping in recent years has occurred inside the WHA, but outside the marine park.
Felicity Wishart with the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) agrees. ‘We’re talking about a 3,600sq.km loophole,’ she said. ‘You’ve got port facilities that abut the marine park, and often they’ve got a dredge allocation right outside the park and it can drift right in.’
It will be interesting to see how this story unfolds in the future, and to see whether we can keep the Great Barrier Reef out of the dreaded Heritage Sites list.

Christian Mc Karthy

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