In December, the Australian government approved a plan by India's Adani Group to expand a coal port, and now the government's given the go-ahead to dump the 3,000,000 cubic meters of muck that will be dredged for the project onto the struggling Great Barrier Reef. The GBR, which is a World Heritage Site, is already officially classed in "poor" health, and the ocean floor around it will now be smothered with vast amounts of waste, destroying fragile habitats and crippling a key player in the world's ocean ecology. The Australian government says that the reef will not suffer as a result, but independent scientists who investigated the question firmly disagree.
Conservationists warned it could hasten the demise of the World Heritage-listed reef, which is already considered to be in "poor" health, with dredging smothering corals and seagrasses and exposing them to poisons and elevated levels of nutrients.
The reef is already facing pressures from climate change, land-based pollution and crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks.
"This is a sad day for the reef and anyone who cares about its future," said WWF Great Barrier Reef campaigner Richard Leck.
"The World Heritage Committee will take a dim view of this decision, which is in direct contravention of one of its recommendations."
Australia OKs Dumping Dredge Spoil in Barrier Reef [AFP/Discovery]