Dumping ban must extend to entire Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Site

Posted on March, 16 2015

A full ban is needed before the World Heritage Committee meets to consider declaring the reef in danger.
WWF today reaffirmed its call for a full ban on waste dumping in the entire reef World Heritage Site after the Australian government’s release of draft legislation to ban the dumping of dredge spoil in the smaller Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.


“WWF has always called for a ban in the entire World Heritage Site,” WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman said. “The marine park ban is a welcome step toward protecting the reef from damaging dredge spoil, but the proposed ban does nothing to include 3,600 square kilometres including port exclusion areas.”
Eighty percent of recent dumping has occurred just outside the marine park, which means that dredge plumes can easily drift into these protected waters. A WWF analysis released last month found that dredging and dumping can have “devastating impacts” on the marine environment.
“The Queensland state government has an election commitment to ban dumping in the entire World Heritage Site,” said O’Gorman. “The strongest level of protection for the reef would be provided by a World Heritage Site ban introduced by both levels of government. That’s why we reaffirm our call for a federal dumping ban over the entire World Heritage Site.”

“It’s crucial that the federal and Queensland government bans are enacted before the World Heritage Committee meets in June to consider declaring the reef as World Heritage in danger,” he said.
Draft legislation would still allow dumping.
© Xanthe Rivett/CAFNEC/WWF-Aus
Dredging and dumping can kill seagrass that endangered green turtles eat.
© Andrew Nekrasov / WWF