REPORT #37 Jan 1999

Produced by the Belize Development Trust
Thomas Goreau an environmentalist doing a study world wide on reef problems, states in his latest reports that Global Warming ( ozone hole over Antartica, rising Carbon Dioxide gases, El Nino currents, and cyclical 50,000 year ice ages ) are causing the reef systems of the world to die out.

His report says only the central Pacific Ocean islands and reef and some Caribbean reefs are still structurally sound. This bleaching or killing of coral reefs is cause by rising water temperatures, which make the corals respond by expelling the algae that give them color and nutrition. This condition weakens the coral, sometimes fatally.

Already dead, are 90% of the Indonesian archipelego reefs. The Syechelles, the Maldives, Bahrain, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Tanzania are all in the 90% destroyed area.

The Caribbean Islands are just beginning to experience the same phenomena. It is expected many Pacific Island countries will wash away. World wide coral bleaching started, or was observed first about 1980. In these last two years, the increase in damage is exponential. Ocean temperaturs are rising from New Guinea to Japan and the Maldives and Sri Lanka already have it. In the Seychelles, the water temperature has risen from 84 F to 91 F. Around the whole world the average temperature is 58F. A lot of temperature readings can now be monitored by satellite and are on the internet.

Attempts at rebuilding reefs are being carried out in some places by underwater metal structures and cages, using electrical cables and a low voltage. This causes calcium carbonate and magnesium dioxide to form on the metal, speeding up growth of coral.

Otherwise, there is not much any government can do about it.

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