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Australian Government Approves Dumping Dredged Waste at Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

Feb 01, 2014 08:14 AM EST
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The Australian government approved Friday, the dumping of three million cubic meters of dredge waste at a deepwater location in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority's nod to the North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation to dump dredged silt in the iconic site is subject to "strict conditions," GBRMPA said in a statement.

Conservationists, including those from the World Wildlife Fund Australia, have said that the move by the Australian federal government will damage an iconic site and the unique coral ecosystem.

Reef Campaigners added that the GBRMPA and Greg Hunt- Federal Environment Minister- "have let down Australians and failed the Reef."

The dredged material will come from the coal port expansion at Abbot Point, which is located south of Townsville on the Queensland coast, CNN reported.

According to GBRMPA, the dumping will not significantly affect the Reef.                   

 "It's important to note the seafloor of the approved disposal area consists of sand, silt and clay and does not contain coral reefs or seagrass beds," Dr Russell Reichelt, Authority Chairman, said in a news release.

Coral reefs are also called the "rainforests of the ocean" due to the vast variety of organisms that they harbor. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is about 345,000 square kilometers or 214,373 square miles in area. The reef is home of several types of corals, fishes, rays, turtles and sharks, according to WWF.

Great Barrier Reef tour operators said that the dumping will negatively affect the tourism industry in the region and spoil Australia's image, according to abc.net.au.

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