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Great Barrier Reef « Previous | |Next »
February 26, 2003

This report does not seem to have been picked up by the print media, or if it was it was not included in the online articles. It says that soil erosion and runoff of fertilisers and chemicals from coastal agriculture pose a significant threat to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), particularly the inner reefs.

"Water quality in rivers entering the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) lagoon has declined because of diffuse pollutants, especially sediments, nutrients and chemicals from cropping and grazing lands in relatively small areas of the adjacent catchments. This diffuse pollution threatens inshore reefs and associated ecosystems."

The pastoralists and sugar farmers have great difficulty in acknowledging the consequences of their bad farming practices despite the science that is available. According to the greens (WWF what is needed to tackle the pollution are:

--An immediate and permanent moratorium of land clearing in the Great Barrier Reef catchment;

Urgent legislative protection for coastal freshwater wetlands;

All agricultural activities to be regulated under the Queensland Environment Protection Act 1994;

Fertilizer and pesticide use to be licensed;

Legislative discharge limits for acid sulphate soil to be set;

A major Great Barrier Reef catchment riparian revegetation and wetland restoration program that is properly funded.

In contras the economists at the Productivity Commission recommend voluntary changes to current land use practices. They really do have problems building market externalities such as the ongoing destruction of the Great Barrier Reef into agricultural production.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:40 PM | | Comments (1)


It is worth mentioning that the Big Pineapple has recommended only the bare minimum of the Reef be set aside for total protection, far below the 35-50% scientists say is necessary. I give him a "C-"