Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has announced his plans to spend around $400 million to ensure the protection of the Great Barrier Reef, the World Heritage site of Australia.
The announcement resulted in the revelation of the latest developments that stated the adverse effects of bleaching that killed almost 35 percent of the corals in the central and northern parts of the reef. Australian scientists said on Monday that only seven percent of the reef has remained undamaged by bleaching. According to itv.com, the mass bleaching due to global warming is the third instance in 20 years that has affected the reef so badly. Bleaching forces coral to damage living algae and turn them to white through calcification. It occurs when the water becomes too warm.
The ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies research formed the first base of confirmation of the number of corals that died in the area since the beginning of the bleaching process in early 2016. Initial reports claimed that 93 percent of corals in the area have already been bleached. However, some of the corals have the ability to recover after bleaching, depending on its damage. According to the survey conducted by James Cook University’s ARC, more than 50 percent in the northern region of the reef and five percent died in the central region.
Shorten is expected to provide a detailed description of investment and utilization of funds into the protection and development of the Great Barrier Reef on Monday. Labor environment spokesperson Mark Butler said that the funding will help in enhancement of research into the reef. “We’ve indicated $50 million will be put into the marine science section of CSIRO, there’ll be further funding for research and science; significant amounts of funding, up to $300 million for environmental improvement in water quality as well as on the land,” the ABC quoted him as saying.