Coral reefs are some of the most valuable ecosystems on Earth, half a billion people are affected by them. Coral reefs are in danger, and we need to save them before they go extinct.
There are multiple factors contributing to the deaths of the reefs. One danger is pesticides that get washed into the oceans by rainwater. They affect the reproduction and growth of the reefs and can lead to bleached (dead) reefs. An excess of nutrients from agricultural runoff can cause algae to grow. The algae will block sunlight from the reef and consume the oxygen that the coral needs. This will, in turn, destroy the coral reef.
At West Middle School, more than half of the fifty-three students who responded to a survey do not know the benefits or importance of coral reefs. Some do not care about the reefs dying, thinking that they are not affected.
You may not care, thinking you are not affected by the reefs, but coral reefs are helpful in many ways. They protect coastlines from damage caused by waves and tropical storms. They provide habitats for 9 million species of marine organisms and are full of essential nutrients for marine life. Reefs help in the purification of water and air, the creation of soil, and the breaking down of pollutants (Queensland Museum)!
Medicines can also be found in coral reefs. They are already being used to treat diseases such as cancer and HIV. The more reefs there are, the more diseases we can cure. New medicines for cancer, arthritis, human bacterial infections, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, viruses, and other diseases are being developed from coral reef plants and animals. For more information, visit the link below (National Ocean Service).
Reefs generate money and resources for countries. The reefs near the Florida Keys make about 3 million U.S. dollars each year and the Great Barrier Reef makes about 1.5 billion dollars per year. One square kilometer of a reef can yield up to fifteen tons of fish and other seafood each year if the reef is handled properly. Again, check the text below (World Wide Fund for Nature).
Although we do not live near a coastline, coral reefs still play a role in our lives now and in the future.
National Ocean Service, https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/coral_medicine.html )
Queensland Museum, https://www.qm.qld.gov.au/microsites/biodiscovery/05human-impact/importance-of-coral-reefs.html
World Wide Fund for Nature. https://wwf.panda.org/our_work/oceans/coasts/coral_reefs/coral_importance.cfm/