Approved port expansion plans threaten existence of Great Barrier Reef

Washington, Feb. 1: The government agency that oversees Australia’s Great Barrier Reef has given its nod to a plan to dump about 3 million cubic metres of dredged mud on the reef as part of a major coal port expansion, which conservationists say will endanger its fragile ecosystem.

Australia’s federal government in December had permitted the expansion of the Abbot Point coal port in northern Queensland, Stuff.co.nz reported.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt has said that some of the strictest conditions in the history of Australian will be imposed to protect the reef from harm, which includes water quality measures and safeguards for the reef’s plants and animals.

Environment groups argue that apart from the risk that the sediment would smother coral and seagrass, the increased shipping traffic is also going to boost accident risk, like oil spills and collisions with delicate coral beds. (ANI)