Australia Green Lights Dumping Near Great Barrier Reef

Authorities have signed off on plans to dump millions of tons of dredged mud and sand

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Patrick Hamilton / Greenpeace / Reuters

Mounds of coal along the coastline of Queensland at the port of Hay Point, located around 450 km (279 miles) southeast of the city of Townsville August 5, 2009.

Australia has approved plans to dump one million tons of dredged mud into the sea near the Great Barrier Reef in order to create the world’s largest coal port.

The reef, which is the largest natural feature on earth visible from space, is home to thousands of species of marine life. Conservationists argue that it’s now under threat from the coal port expansion, the Financial Times reports. The dumping was green-lighted by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

Several companies want to use the expansion of the Abbot Point port near Queensland to export hundreds of millions of tons of coal a year, estimated to be worth between $1.4-2.8 billion. Authorities have granted approval with strict environmental controls.

Selina Ward, a marine biologist at Queensland University, said that “dumping millions of tons of sediment near the reef could smother the corals and sea grasses while dredging risks releasing poisons on the seabed.” She and other 230 other scientists signed a petition opposing the plans this week, the Financial Times reports.

The United Nation’s cultural agency, UNESCO, warned last year it was considering placing the reef on its endangered list for 2014 because of the threats it faces from dredging for fossil fuel ports, increased shipping frequency and run off from agricultural developments.

[Financial Times]

51 comments
abs4fr
abs4fr

A lot of emotive rubbish has been spouted about this issue. No-one is dumping sludge on the Great Barrier Reef. The material dredged from the harbour is 70% sand, 30% clay, both natural materials washed out to sea by all of our rivers every time it floods in Queensland. Natural silt is deposited in shallow water on seagrass habitats, where it is harmful, but completely natural. The dredge spoil is to be dumped in a deep sea trench 25km out from the coast, 40km from the nearest part of the Great Barrier Reef, which does not contain coral reefs or seagrass beds. In other words there is no risk to the Great Barrier Reef at all. The lies and hysteria pushed by left-wing anti-capitalist groups posing as environmentalists repeated uncritically by the World Press is an "international embarrassment", and will no doubt lead to their socialist mates in the UN issuing a report condemning Australia for "Dumping garbage” on a World Heritage site: like every other bureaucratic bleating from the UN, this too can be safely ignored.

Cheryl Conrad
Cheryl Conrad

Fantastic, We Can't Ruin The Sea Fast Enough, What With The Nuclear Waste Japan Is Allowing To Flow Into It.

Mark Jeffries
Mark Jeffries

Great barrier reef largest living thing on the planet. Shameful

Nangolo Malima
Nangolo Malima

Its only earth moving. Nothing hazardous. Nature does it all the time.

Leilei Chye
Leilei Chye

Let's destroy the economy and planet with Mr Abott

Rayleen Simpkins
Rayleen Simpkins

Sludge from the OK TEDI mine in the highlands of P&NG have been located in the Northern Barrier Reef waters a 1,000klms away. And Minister Hunt says dumping 40klms from the reef is safe, they're all idiots!!

Amir Raho
Amir Raho

i likes good work time news i likes

Len Wiltzen
Len Wiltzen

Won't be visiting Australia ever again though Canada will soon be the same when they allow oil tankers on the west coast. Money rules logic.

Zac Rodriguez
Zac Rodriguez

Thanks Obama! But really, no. Get the Queen to fire the government yet again. These conservative fools currently in control are only out for themselves.

Porky Chu
Porky Chu

Outrageous. They have a desert for that.

Sarb J Sid
Sarb J Sid

Stupid careless reckless authorities

Matthew Maxvill
Matthew Maxvill

Good. Now we won't have to hear about the reef dying off from the effects of global warming.

Paulo Castro
Paulo Castro

money always ruine everything, like Marx in "Das Kapital"

Chris Smock
Chris Smock

No good ! We only have one planet to live on, we must start taking care of her.

Ela Cepalovic
Ela Cepalovic

:( money will ruine everything. Few years and there will be no reef

Micke Seið
Micke Seið

If nobody acts soon our species greed will do this whole planet in...

Nicky Moore
Nicky Moore

what are you going to do about it Campbell Newman ?!!