Oliver M and Nishk S
The blue waters surround you as you swim down towards the reefs. You then flip around, and the bubbles coming out of your mask float to the surface and pop. You see a rainbow of fish leaving their colorful homes. As the coral reef dances with the water’s current, you continue to explore the vibrant environment, but you soon see the color fading. The majestic blue color suddenly dims into a dirty grey with water bottles, 6-pack-rings, and plastic bags taking the center of attention.
Criminals of the Ocean
The culprit behind the death of coral reefs all over the world is ocean acidification. In a study published by Geophysical Research Letters, scientists found significant degradation of the density of coral skeletons in the great barrier reef. For most of us, the health of coral reefs is no more important than a tree at your local park. Picture it like this: coral reefs are humans with skeletons that rebuild over time when they are harmed. However, the problem is that due to the increased acidity and the high sea temperatures, coral reefs are no longer regenerating.
Results of the Crime
One of the main causes of reef destruction is fishing practices and boating debris. The parts from fishing and boats fall to the bottom of the sea and the reefs will be damaged by them. Furthermore, the increase of acidity in the ocean is caused by increased pollution. According to UNESCO, ocean acidity has increased by 30% since the Industrial Revolution. This increase translates to more carbon in the atmosphere. Any guesses where this all leads back to? That’s right, humans.
Steps for the Future
This problem will continue going on forever and the only way to stop it is to minimize the pollution in the air. What’s most important to remember is that every effort counts. Small things like recycling paper products, biking to school, and turning off the lights in your house can make the biggest difference if they are done religiously. As humans, we tend to forget to look beyond ourselves. In this case, these reefs are also homes. Homes to the fish and sea creatures that live there.
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