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The Human Impact Of Tourism On Coral Reefs

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The human impact of tourism on reefs, while having its economic and social benefits, also has detrimental impacts on the surrounding environment of the reefs, globally. A study, conducted by the ARC Centre of Excellence: Coral Reef Studies has stated that more than half of Latin America’s coral reefs are potentially going to be tainted and disintegrated within the next 5-10 years and that 70% of the world’s coral reefs are likely to vanish by 2030, as a result of tourism related activities (ARC Centre of Excellence, 2011). An example of this coral loss can be seen below, in Image 1.1, which demonstrates the estimated coral loss along the North-East coast of Queensland, in the next 15 years.

A major human impact that results in the deterioration of the reefs’ pristine environment is scuba diving. Scuba diving results in the unintentional wrecking of the natural environment of the coral, via the equipment needed for this activity. The equipment required for scuba diving is often heavy and large materials, such as oxygen tanks and flippers, which can unintentionally harm the reef. When swimming with flippers, excess set sedimentation on the ocean floor can be disturbed, and can reposition itself on the reef. When this gravel is repositioned on the reef, it can be situated in such a way that results in the zooxanthellae not having the adequate amount of sunlight that is required for photosynthesis, which can potentially damage the coral and even kill it (CHECK) (Rastogi,
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