Coral reef is one of the important features of the marine ecosystem. However, it has continually faced depletion in various coastal regions all over the world. Some of effects of this destruction include: decline in tourism, low levels of fishing and predisposal to strong ocean currents. Following such negative impacts, various organizations have come up with programs aiming at countering the possibility of a continuous depletion of reefs at both the regional and global levels. This paper therefore elaborates on both the conservation and cleans up of coral reefs.
According to Spalding et al (2001), coral reefs are a part of the marine ecosystem that constitutes under water structures made of calcium carbonate that is secreted by corals. Sea World (2012) notes that they are mainly found in shallow waters and grow best under defined conditions even though to a smaller extent they can also be found in deep waters. Coral reefs are mainly found in the coastal water bodies. They are of great importance to the immediate community, country and the world at large, especially as far as the conservation of the environment is concerned. For example, coral reefs provide a shelter and habitation to most fish. They thus enhance fishing as an economic activity. Additionally, coral reefs help to regulate the carbon dioxide concentration in water and this enhance the continued survival of massive number of marine animals. Coral reefs also act as a barrier to protect shores from strong currents by causing their subsiding. Moreover, coral reefs’ stony unique structures act as tourists’ attraction site besides their ability to be shaped into souvenirs.
Despites their importance, current research shows that at least 10% of coral reefs have been destroyed. Ocean World (2004) noted that human beings are the number one destructors of coral reefs followed by effects of climatic changes. The direct modes of destruction of this resource include spillage of poisonous waste products into the water bodies, poor and lethal fishing methods and the use of cyanide in the fishing of coral reef. Apart from the direct modes, the coral reefs are also destructed indirectly by warming of the ocean. The effect of such destruction is massive to the immediate environment and even the economy of the society. With these insights, this paper aims at discussing coral reef conservation and clean up in reference to my community.
Environmental and Economic Effects of Coral Reef Destruction
Spalding et al. (2001) notes that as coral reefs continuously face destruction, effects of such destructions on the environment and economy are increasingly becoming massive. First, it has led to an imbalance in the marine ecosystem and this is quite lethal to the survival of fish. Most fish depend on coral reefs for shelter and destruction of coral reefs affects their ecology. Moreover, Ocean World (2004) reports that with destruction of coral reefs, the carbon dioxide level in the water has quite increased and this automatically negatively affects fish survival. Such factors also negatively affect the immediate economy of the community as the returns from fishing get diminished. Additionally, any negative effect on reefs results into destruction of the coasts rendering them unable to provide barriers to strong currents between the ocean and the shores (Ekman, 2003). This would result to disaster upon people living next to the shores especially when strong currents are blown. The economy is also affected due to decline in tourists visiting the area.
In my community effects of coral reef destruction are quite evident. Decades ago, coral reefs were such beautiful scenarios to be observed. In fact, the number of tourists was immense opposite to what is prevailing presently. Fishing is equally on the decrease as an economic activity in the area because of the reefs’ destruction. Equally, though the fear of current attacks on people relaxing on the shore were a rare story, things have changed. It all began by one of the fish producing industries secretly disposing their waste products into the ocean. The ocean water got deprived of the sunlight due to the waste cover and slowly the growth of reefs diminished. The residence of the community also got to the extreme with fishing. Many divers would go to the deeps of the coral reef to obtain reefs using cyanide which is quite poisonous to the coral reef. The result was obviously a decrease in the flourishing of the coral reefs as divers caused even physical destruction to the reefs. Such practices led to destruction of the reefs causing the environmental and economic effects discussed.
There has thus been a great outcry on the need to conserve the coral reefs and do a cleanup based on understanding that failure to take actions would lead to effects that would soon be irreversible. This has thus led to the establishment of a number of organizations concerned with coral reef monitoring programs. Such organizations have been mainly constituted by members of the community who are quite informed on the adverse effects caused by destruction of coral reefs. Such organizations as the Reef Youth Foundation and the Coral Reef Conversation Team have laid up short and long term strategies to prevent and counter the effects of coral reefs’ destruction.
Conservation and Cleanups of Coral Reef
International Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (2012) highlight a number of activities that organizations do in order to conserve the coral reefs. The first is provision of education to the public to create awareness on the need to conserve the coral reefs. For example, organizations meet fishermen upon organized dates and teach them on good fishing practices. Members of these two organizations also hold periodical meetings in schools, market places and churches. Apart from creating awareness on the need to conserve the coral reefs, the organizations also create booklets in the native languages and distribute them among the residents. The booklets address the various ways of avoiding coral reef destruction. Southeast Florida coral reef initiative (2012) observes that such organizations also carry out periodical projects. The first one was the Coral Reef Planting Project which brought both the members of the project and residents volunteers together for planting of coral reefs. The organization also performs quarterly coral reef clean up in the water bodies using environmental friendly procedures. Finally, these organizations through the governmental support present help ensure that lethal waste is not disposed to the ocean.
In conclusion, coral reef conservation and clean up is quite essential in preservation of the general ecosystem. However, any kind of intervention must seek to bring on board all the stakeholders for any meaningful success to be realized.