Coral reefs are as rare as they are biodiverse. Their coverage on the entire earth’s surface is just 0.1% which is why threats to coral reefs are more heartfelt. Some threats to coral reefs are natural and global, e.g. warming waters, but others are human caused. Scuba diving is one such threat. While scuba diving is definitely a fun activity, it poses one of the biggest threats to coral reefs. How is this exciting sport making it worse for the coral reefs? Read on to find out!
Coral reefs require clean water to thrive. They also depend on special symbiotic algae that can only grow on exposure to direct sunlight. How does scuba diving cause pollution? Let’s start with leaking boats that leave a layer of oil on the water’s surface. There is also plastic pollution by the divers from plastic wrappers and bottles. These types of pollution threats to coral reefs block the sun from reaching the algae which in turn can’t photosynthesize.
Scuba diving is all wonderfully fun, but boat anchors destroy coral reefs. In order to anchor the boat close to the scuba diving areas, divers end up dropping the anchors onto the reefs directly. Boat anchors pose threats to coral reefs by significantly damaging them and causing disturbance to marine life. Threats to coral reefs by boat anchors can be solved through installation of permanent mooring buoys. These buoys normally float on water and can then be used by scuba divers to anchor their boats safely.
Coral mining and collecting
Coral reefs typically contain limestone and sand that is used in cement making. Large pieces of coral reefs are also used as road-fill or bricks. This leads to excess coral mining that may completely destroy the reefs. Coral collecting is also one of the major threats to coral reefs. Some coral types like red and black coral are so beautiful that they are used in jewelry making. It is not uncommon for scuba divers to harvest such corals, causing destruction. Sometimes, if the scuba divers find a piece of coral that is branching off, they break if off to be sold as souvenirs or home decor. These kinds of threats to coral reefs by scuba divers cause the reefs to decline rapidly, with some areas never recovering.
Let’s face it, scuba diving is a lucrative tourist activity that earns the government a considerable amount of money. However, when done in large scale, it becomes unsustainable thus posing threats to coral reefs. How is unsustainable tourism a major source of threats to coral reefs? Some scuba divers kick, grab and walk on coral reefs causing destruction. Ointments applied by divers leave harmful chemicals in the water. Scuba divers sometimes stir up the sediments found on the ocean floor thus affecting the water quality. The only solution to this is to sensitize scuba divers on their impending threats to coral reefs and to promote sustainable tourism.
Physical destruction of mangroves
In a bid to create more space for beaches and recreation centers, the destruction of mangrove forests is on the rise. Did you know that mangrove forests are crucial to the thriving of reefs and destroying them only poses threats to coral reefs? These forests filter sediments that reach the reefs and cutting them down increase the amount of sediments that reach the coral reefs. Mangroves also serve as a nursery for reef species e.g. fishes. Cutting them down only increases threats to coral reefs.
Construction is also one of the major threats to coral reefs. Developers are now building structures and piers on the reefs, causing destruction and reducing any chances of regeneration.