The Impact of Pollution on Coral Reefs

By Amahle Phendu

While millions of people and species of wildlife depend on coral reefs, they are deteriorating and dying at an alarming rate due to human and natural pressures, including overfishing and climate change.

Coral reefs are large underwater structures, composed of the skeletons of colonial marine invertebrates called coral. They play a crucial role in the ecosystem for life under water and protect coastal areas by reducing the power of waves hitting the coast. That is ,they serve as natural marine barriers that protect coastal infrastructure from high impact waves in times of tropical storms, hurricanes and tsunamis .

To survive, coalesced clean water, so when pollutants enter the water, they smother them and speed the growth of damaging algae that in turn lowers the water  quality. Pollution also makes the corals more susceptible to diseases, impede coral growth and reproduction.

The primary cause for coral reefs degradation throughout the world is land-based pollution. This is because human populations are expanding in coastal areas and the development alters the landscape increasing runoffs from the land. These runoffs carry large amounts of sediment from land clearing, sewage outflows and many other pollutants such as petroleum products.

While people may undermine the impact of their doings, coral reefs bear the brunt of it all, and billions of people are going to suffer.

Photo credit: pexels.com

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