Australian Conservation Bodies Race Against Time to Save Great Barrier Reef from World Heritage Status Delisting

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | January 23, 2013 4:50 PM EST

Racing overtime, the World Wildlife Fund and the Australian Marine Conservation Society have merged together to create a conservation campaign, primarily geared towards political leaders, in a futile attempt to save the Great Barrier Reef from being delisted off its World Heritage status.

Saying since 2013 is an election year for Australia, it would be best if political wannabes include in their agenda the deteriorating state of the reef as well as how to prevent it and preserve it.

In December 2012, UNESCO had warned the Great Barrier Reef could be placed on the World Heritage in the Danger list, thereby stripped of its World Heritage status, if Australia continued to inadequately execute appropriate and definite measures to protect the area, noting that the current safeguards in place for an environmental asset of global importance fare poorly.

It had given Australia and its government until this year to get its act together.

The campaign by the World Wildlife Fund and the Australian Marine Conservation Society, called Fight for the Reef, essentially called for the Australian government and its leaders to commit $500 million towards programs that would work for the reversal of water quality decline in the reef, good for the next four years. It also called for the halt of any future construction of new ports along the Queensland coast as well as a review of prevailing port boundaries where areas relative to the reef's safety and integrity would be excluded.

Without these, the Queensland government stands to lose some $6 billion contribution to the local government's coffers.

Composed of more than 2,900 individual reefs, the Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest reef system with over 900 islands stretching for over 2,600 km. It was granted World Heritage status in 1981.

Read more:

Tubbataha Reef and Other Beautiful Coral Reefs of the World (PHOTOS)

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