Myriad colours, deep silence and a sense of peace combined with adventure – that’s what the world underwater is! Disney’s Little Mermaid cartoon was my first introduction to these spectacular sights, and my penchant further deepened when I went diving across the globe.
Along with a host of fish, I also came to treasure a few of the most compelling life forms on earth – the coral reefs. Nature becomes an artist when it comes to these mesmerizing reefs with a range of hues and shapes. Beyond the aesthetic appeal, they play a crucial role in maintaining life underwater. Sadly, today these precious, life-bearing reefs are under the threat of destruction. Let’s explore more here.
The Significance Of Coral Reefs
Coral reefs are known as the rainforest of the sea and are crucial for the marine ecosystem. Nearly 25% of all marine life depends on coral reefs for their life cycle at some point. These include 4,000 species of fish alone. Not just the aquatic animals, an estimated half a billion people worldwide depend on the coral reef ecosystem for food, coastal protection and economy.
Coral reefs are said to be providers of sources for new medicines to treat various health problems.
Threats On Coral Reefs
The contemporary lifestyle and advancements have benefited us greatly, but it has gravely impacted the environment. Several personal and industrial factors lead to the destruction of these beautiful corals, they are:● Overfishing & illegal fishing (learn more about it here: https://bit.ly/2Z4fGus)● Rampant coastal development leading to physical damage● Boat anchors & groundings● Industrial water pollution● Blast fishing that uses explosives to kill fish● Coral harvesting for aquarium trade and jewellery● Global warming, which changes the temperature and disturbs natural water currents
These factors may cause direct destruction to the corals or lead to over-harvesting of certain species that negatively impact reef habitats and disturb biodiversity in the oceans.
How Can We Protect Coral Reefs?
First and foremost, large-scale fishing, development and global warming need to be tackled. However, on a personal level, we can undertake a more sustainable lifestyle that will help the reefs and the ecosystem as a whole. Here’s how you can save these multi-hued corals:● When diving, opt for safe and certified institutes that pledge to protect the underwater world● Use eco-friendly, natural sunscreens● Switch to chemical-free cleaners and detergent● Segregate your trash to reduce plastic in the oceans● Be conscious when buying an aquarium and pet fish● Spread awareness about the importance of coral reef protection