Damage to the Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest reef system stretching along the East coast of Australia from the northern tip down to the town of Bundaberg., composed of roughly 2,900 individual reefs and 940 islands and cays that stretch for 2,300 kilometres (1,616 mi) and cover an area of approximately 344,400 square kilometres (133,000 sq mi). The reef is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland in northeast Australia. A large part of the reef is protected by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
According to the 2014 report of the Australian Government’s Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), climate change is the most significant environmental threat to the Great Barrier Reef, while the other major environmental pressures are listed as decreased water quality from land-based runoff, impacts from coastal development and some persistent impacts from fishing activities. The reef is also threatened by storms, coral bleaching and ocean acidification. The 2014 report also shows that, while numerous marine life species have recovered after previous declines, the strength of the dugong population is continuing to decline. Terry Hughes, Federation Fellow, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University, wrote in a 14 August 2014 Conversation piece that harmful government policies and ongoing conflicts of interest over mining royalties are risks of an equivalent magnitude.
The GBRMPA consider climate change, poor water quality, coastal development, and some impacts from fishing to be the area’s major threats, but reef scientists Jon Day, Bob Pressey, Jon Brodie and Hughes stated that the “cumulative effects of many combined impacts” is the real issue. In a Conversation Article, Mathieu Mongin, a biogeochemical modeller at CSIRO and colleagues mapped parts of the Great Barrier Reef that are most exposed to ocean acidification. This map of pH on the Great Barrier Reef presents the exposure to ocean acidification on each of the 3,581 reefs, providing managers with the information they need to tailor management to individual reefs. The Great Barrier Reef is not a singular reef nor a physical barrier that prevents exchange between reefs; it is a mixture of thousands of productive reefs and shallow areas lying on a continental shelf with complex oceanic circulation.
The Australian and Queensland Governments committed to act in partnership in 2007 to protect the reef, and water quality monitoring programmes were implemented. However, the World Wildlife Fund criticised the slow progress of the governments, raising a concern that as many as 700 reefs continued to be at risk from sediment runoff. The Australian government then outlined further action after the WHC called for the completion of a strategic assessment of the Reef area in 2011. The Committee also urged the government to use the assessment data to develop a long-term plan for protecting the “Outstanding Universal Value” of the reef, which is the basis for its World Heritage listing. Again, criticisms emerged from the expert community—due to vague quantitative targets, the absence of clear, specific strategies, and no mention of the implications of climate change—but the significant efforts of both state and federal governments addressed key recommendations from the World Heritage Committee.
A 2012 UNESCO report, published by the World Heritage Committee (WHC), then criticised the government’s management of the Great Barrier Reef, warning that the area could be downgraded to a world heritage site “in danger” unless major changes were implemented. The report expressed “extreme concern” at the rapid rate of coastal development, highlighting the construction of liquefied natural gas plants at Gladstone and Curtis Island, and recommended that thorough assessments are made before any new developments that could affect the reef are approved. UNESCO specifically recommended no new port development in Abbot Point, Gladstone, Hay Point, Mackay, and Townsville.
On the second day of the 2013 round of the biennial training exercise ‘Talisman Saber’, in which 28,000 US and Australian military personnel conduct joint activities over a three-week period,four unarmed bombs were dropped into the Great Barrier Reef by two US AV-8B Harrier jets that were unable to land with the weight of the weapons. To minimize potential harm to the reef, the four bombs, weighing a total 1.8 metric tons (4,000 pounds), were dropped into more than 50 meters (164 ft) of water away from the reef’s coral structures. The bomb drop was originally planned to occur at the Townshend Island bombing range, but after controllers reported that the area was not clear of hazards, the emergency jettison occurred. Australian senator Larissa Waters responded to the news by asking, “Have we gone completely mad? Is this how we look after our World Heritage area now? Letting a foreign power drop bombs on it?”


Pollution in China

Pollution is one aspect of the broader topic of environmental issues in China. Various forms of pollution have increased as China has industrialised, which has caused widespread environmental and health problems. 
The immense growth of the People’s Republic of China since the 1980s has resulted in increased soil pollution. The State Environmental Protection Administration believes it to be a threat to the environment, food safety and sustainable agriculture. 38,610 square miles (100,000 km2) of China’s cultivated land have been polluted, with contaminated water being used to irrigate a further 31.5 million miles (21,670 km2.) and another 2 million miles (1,300 km2) have been covered or destroyed by solid waste[citation needed]. In total, the area accounts for one-tenth of China’s cultivatable land, and is not known as the first time mostly in economically developed areas. An estimated 6 million tonnes of grain are contaminated by heavy metals every year, causing direct losses of 29 billion yuan (US$2.57 billion)
As China’s waste production increases, insufficient efforts to develop capable recycling systems have been attributed to a lack of environmental awareness. In 2012 the waste generation in China was 300 million tons (229.4 kg/cap/yr). A ban came into effect on 1 June 2008 that prohibited all supermarkets, department stores and shops throughout China from giving out free plastic bags[citation needed].[6] Stores must clearly mark the price of plastic shopping bags and are banned from adding that price onto the price of products. The production, sale and use of ultra-thin plastic bags – those less than 0.025 millimeters (0.00098 in) thick – are also banned. The State Council called for “a return to cloth bags and shopping baskets.” This ban, however, does not affect the widespread use of paper shopping bags at clothing stores or the use of plastic bags at restaurants for takeout food. A survey by the International Food Packaging Association found that in the year after the ban was implemented, 10 percent fewer plastic bags found their way into the garbage.

In 2011, China produced 2.3 million tons of electronic waste. The annual amount is expected to increase as the Chinese economy grows. In addition to domestic waste production, large amounts of electronic waste are imported from overseas. Legislation banning importation of electronic waste and requiring proper disposal of domestic waste has recently been introduced, but has been criticized as insufficient and susceptible to fraud . There have been local successes, such as in the city of Tianjin where 38,000 tons of electronic waste were disposed of properly in 2010, but much electronic waste is still improperly handled.
Water pollution
The water resources of China are affected by both severe water shortages and severe water pollution. An increasing population and rapid economic growth as well as lax environmental oversight have increased water demand and pollution. In response, China has taken measures such as rapidly building out the water infrastructure and increased regulation as well as exploring a number of further technological solutions
Air pollution
Air pollution has become a major issue in China, and poses a threat to Chinese public health. Coal combustion generates particulate matter also known as “PM”. Currently, Beijing is suffering from PM2.5, which is a particulate matter with diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less . According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, such fine particles can cause asthma, bronchitis, and acute and chronic respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath and painful breathing, and may also lead to premature death. The Telegraph reported a case of an 8-year-old girl who had contracted lung cancer, becoming the youngest victim of lung cancer in China. Doctors pointed out that the likely cause was exposure of air pollution, specifically fine particulates from vehicles. The case has gathered large national public attention and also international attention.

Cold attitude to climate change

Despite the presence of a large number of experts and key world personalities, the climate change conference in Paris provides little hope for the future. Big powers are still blaming each other and no one wants to take responsibly for the rising temperature and climate disaster. The world is witnessing the worst flooding in history and several rivers have crossed their banks, entering big cities. Several European countries have also been badly affected by flooding. Thousands of Bangladeshi and Indian farmers have lost their agriculture land due to the rising sea level, and are finding it hard to survive. 
Sri Lanka also faced the worst floods in its history with thousands of people being forced to migrate to safer areas recently. China has also been hit by floods in its eastern province recently. Australia is facing the warmest summer ever. More than 1,000 people lost their lives in Pakistan due to the heat. Everyone agrees that all this is happening due to climate change and global warming. Despite this reality, the world community has failed to provide any concrete solutions to global warming. Several environmental conferences held in the past have failed to come up with real solutions, mainly due to the selfish attitude of big powers, including the six industrialized countries.
 Khawaja Umer Farooq, Jeddah

Arctic sea ice has dropped steadily

Arctic sea ice has dropped steadily and significantly in the last 50 years. Atmospheric concentrations of methane have more than doubled in the same time frame.

Methane hydrates are stored in permafrost, and on the ocean floor. Not only have global methane concentrations been skyrocketting (from a historical maximum within the last 10,000 prior to 1900 being 800 ppb, and current data giving us in excess of 2100 ppb), but the highest values have been found around Greenland and the Arctic.

Is the Arctic ice melting because of a self-reinforcing cycle of rising methane, from global warming, from a hole in the ozone layer? It is hard to know, although I think the first theory is the most likely.

But, if it is the methane rising, which is then triggering more methane to rise, then we will have some serious problems to contend to: an extreme rise in temperatures, far in excess of that projected when only taking anthropogenic CO2 into account.

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After Effects of Hurricane Sandy

English: No fear of global warming here...
According to news reports, New York and a few other US states are struggling with the effects of Hurricane Sandy. Offices, school and business came to a standstill, which signals a large financial loss. According to initial warnings, three-and-a-half metre high waves could hit the main city areas. People were moved to higher areas and many flights were cancelled or rescheduled. Is this a result of global warming?
In the current modern era we have seen many parts of the world suffering from natural disasters such as floods, drought and earthquakes. I would like to mention that it’s not only the poor countries that get affected but the world together is paying a high price for natural disasters. The floods in China displaced about half a million people, even Russia witnessed the worst floods in its history; Australia destroyed thousands of acres of land and homes and now it’s the US. Unfortunately despite these disasters the world has failed to control the rising temperature of the Earth.
The last global summit on climate failed to bring any positive change due to the world powers being selfish and blaming each other for raising the level of carbon emissions. Global warming is indirectly harming the already weak world economy. It is high time that the world gets together and each individual and every country contributes to protect the planet.


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Global warming: need for code of conduct

The Discovery of Global Warming
The Discovery of Global Warming (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

OWING to rising global warming things are going from bad to worse in several countries but the UN and other developed countries have failed to prepare a code of conduct for developed countries which are responsible for global warming.
The rising temperature of the earth has forced several countries to face worse weather conditions. Owing to global warming and uncertain weather conditions, the poor population is worse affected. High rates of suicides and the rising graph of social crimes are now giving alarm balls in several countries.
China and Russia are seeing worse floods as thousands of people are forced to migrate to other parts of the country. The US is facing its worst drought in 25 years and experts warn that US grain prices could rise in several countries.
Now owing to financial difficulties and rising prices for basic commodities tragic stories are coming from poor communities. Owing to the worst drought and lack of jobs the poor are not able to provide daily necessities to their families.
Children are forced to work long hours for a small amount of money. In India a record number of farmers committed suicide due to financial difficulties this year and many in urgent need of money were forced to sell their organs.
According to media news, due to extreme poverty a mother sold her four-month-old baby to a Nepali couple for Rs 64.
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Global warming

Global warming ubx
According to media reports people of New York City and much of the US East Coast braced themselves for the arrival of Hurricane Sandy. New York City shut down its mass transit system, closed its schools and ordered hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes Sunday in the face of dire predictions about the hurricane.
According to initial warnings, it could be the largest storm – with a diameter of more than 1,500 kilometers when measured by the extent of damaging-force winds — to hit the United States. The storm sheer size and power not the intensity at its core poses the gravest danger. Seven thousand flights around the city have already canceled or rescheduled. On the instructions of city Mayor Michael Bloomberg 375,000 people are migrating from low lying areas to high areas.

Due to the global warming, we are seeing worst kinds of flooding, hurricanes and droughts in many countries. Not only poor countries but rich countries are also a paying a high price for natural disasters. Now from China to Russia and Australia to the US, no one is safe. Only month ago more than half million population migrated from flood affected areas of China, just days ago Russia also witnessed its worst floods of its recent history.

Last year floods in Australia destroyed thousands of acres of land and homes. Unfortunately despite growing global warming and increasing natural disasters, world community has failed to control raising temperature of earth which is main cause of this type of disasters and ordinary people are falling victims. Due to selfishness of big powers, last global summit failed to bring about any positive change and big powers are still blaming each other for raising level of carbon on earth. Record numbers of floods and hurricanes are adding to woes of already weak world economy. Only combined efforts of modern world can minimize these natural disasters.

— Khawaja Umer Farooq, Jeddah



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