Australia has moved to ban dredge waste damping on most of the Great Barrier Reef in an effort to stop the UN from putting the site on its danger list. The reef is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The announcement was made by environment minister Greg Hung on Saturday, who ordered the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to develop regulations to stop waste from capital drudging being dumped on the reef, reports AFP.
“We are ending a century-old practice of dumping in the marine park,” he said. The waste is created by enlarging shipping channels, berths and marinas.
UNESCO had threatened to put the World Heritage Site on its danger list after it emerged that dumping waste in reef waters damages the reef by smothering corals and exposing it to high levels of nutrients and poisons.
Australia has until February 1 to put measures in place to protect the marine park from dredge waste. Hunt now plans to travel to Europe to present his government’s plans.
Environmentalists complain that the proposed ban only applies to the marine park area, but does not include most islands or ports, as well as lakes and other waterways in the heritage area.
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