101 East

Reef Race

Environmentalists race to save Australia's Great Barrier Reef as port expansions threaten its World Heritage status.

Last Modified: 10 May 2013 10:11
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

Australia’s iconic Great Barrier Reef is at risk of being put on UNESCO’s World Heritage danger list due to proposed port expansions.

The Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef, sits off the coast of Queensland in Australia’s northeast. It brings in almost two million visitors and about $6bn from tourism every year.

But one of Australia’s top export earners is coal and Queensland is the country’s top coal producer. Many coal ports and coal shipping routes are close to or within the Great Barrier Reef.

Connect with 101 East

Now, there are nine proposals for coal mines and port expansion in the vicinity of the heritage listed reef.

The UN has alerted the Queensland and federal governments that this natural wonder of the world will be placed on the 2014 danger list in the absence of a firm and demonstrable commitment to protect the reef from pressures of mining and port development.

Greenpeace says coal terminal expansions will lead to increased ship traffic, port infrastructure and dredging that will threaten the ecosystem that is composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands.

The environmental activist group has sent in the Rainbow Warrior to tour Australia to raise awareness about concerns for the coral reef. The vessel is a custom-built, environmentally-friendly ship that tours the world, docking near sites of environmental dispute.

101 East joins the crew of the Rainbow Warrior as it docks in the Great Barrier Reef to raise awareness about its fight against coal mining and new port construction close to the coral reef.

We journey with the ship as it makes its last stop close to one of Queensland’s largest port terminals. We speak with Great Barrier Reef authorities, scientists and the resources sector about development needs and environmental concerns and ask: who will win the race to the reef?

101 East airs each week at the following times GMT: Thursday: 2230; Friday: 0930; Saturday: 0330; Sunday: 1630.

Click here for more 101 East


Al Jazeera
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Lacking cohesive local ground forces to attack in tandem, coalition air strikes will have limited effect, experts say.
Hindu right-wing groups run campaign against what they say is Muslim conspiracy to convert Hindu girls into Islam.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
Muslim caretakers maintain three synagogues in eastern Indian city, which was once home to a thriving Jewish community.
Amid fresh ISIL gains, officials in Anbar province have urged the Iraqi government to request foreign ground troops.
join our mailing list