Social Action Now!

An objective view to worldwide social issues

Tourism, a way to discover or destroy reefs?

Without any exception, tourists use to pick up samples to take them back as a souvenir of their amazing trip. The habit of picking up corals it’s not so determinative to completely destroy them but matching with other practices, ones like spill pollutant fluids, “this accelerates the rhythm of the reefs destruction” claims a group of biologist of the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico. The exploitation without limits, subdue corals to a strong pressure. Reefs are only 2% (32 km more or less) of the coast strip which has a length of 1.580 km of this country, on account of National Development Agency, Investigation and Aquatic Resources (NARA).descarga

 Making a superficial investigation about damaged reefs, it’s possible to find one of the most damaged reefs in the coast of Sri Lanka. In Hikkaduwa 60 km far from Pollhena,it’s a very attractive area for tourists and as a consequence of the abundance of them, locals have increase in size the magnitude of tourism attraction adding ferryboats with the motor in the rail to let visitants get closer to this submarine amazing world, they carry tourists incessantly to the most popular reef of Sri Lanka. The trip  just gets three minutes to get there and even less to return. “They are destroying them, without taking any care” affirms Somadasa de Silva a conservationist and specialized diver who fights to preserve the complex ecosystem.

“Boats circulate with high speeds around reefs and they disturb marine-ecosystem. When it happens regularly, the damage is enormous” regretted de Silva. People without any type of experience not only sail between corals but also spelt fuel and other harmful fluids. Tourists use to have the habit of taking small pieces of corals as a souvenir and decoration, added De Silva. However, the problem does not only last in the southern coast. In the northern peninsula of Jaffna, government had to place some hikkaduwa-coral-reefpolice patrols to control the visitants who arrive to Naga Deepa, the famous budist temple placed next to a reef, to make sure that they won’t nor pick up nor buy corals. In passed times, locals use to pick up all kind of corals to make business with them, they got great amounts of money in exchange of those heirlooms.

“The problem is that people unknown the value of the corals” emphasized Sumedha Kulatunga owner of a tourism resort of Pollhena.

Reefs have always been considered as the jungles of the ocean of them function, they have a huge biodiversity and are places in which big quantity of fish sort reproduce.

 Since 1950 the 19% of the reefs disappeared and another 20% are in danger to be extinct in the following 20 to 40 years, on account of “Coral Reefs Statute of 2013”. The submarine exploitation, the unstoppable crop and the destructive fishing are the main causes of the reefs death (NARA). It can only be restricted the disrespectful fishing with inadequate nets and sometimes with the use of dynamite in the most close reefs.1166054

The death of corals in Sri Lanka pushed the dispparition of 5.000 years old reefs, especially in the southern-east of the country, the most populated party of the country. On account of professional divers that use to dive in Hikaaduwa, more than a 50% of the corals are in danger “It’s possible to see directly how damaged they are” claims De Silva again.

Apart of its ecological value, reefs protect coasts against tsunami phenomena as it happened in 2004. It worked as a barriere reducing damages.

To prevent this dispparition numerous ONG’s promote campaigns against the bad use of the reefs introducing high fines to all those who are responsible for it.

We all live in the same ecosystem, and we only have one, let’s save it!

 

Refferences:

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