Australia buried damning report, misled UNESCO on reef water quality
Nitrogen, sediment and pesticide pollution are a major cause of reef decline. In particular nitrogen leads to outbreaks of coral-eating crown of thorns starfish. For the last few years Australian government reef report cards have told the public and UNESCO that pollution levels were improving.
But an audit by the state of Queensland has found that these improvements cannot be relied on as fact. The audit also found a litany of other problems including poor government management, low uptake of voluntary best management programs by farmers, and increased land clearing in reef catchments
“This report clearly validates UNESCO’s latest decision on the reef, which puts Australia on probation until real results are achieved including actual reductions in pollution levels,” said WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman. “WWF calls on the government to fully implement its recommendations.”