It hit the news a few weeks ago: in just 50 years Brazil has destroyed 80% of its coral reefs. The figure belongs to research carried out by the Federal University of Pernambuco. The study blames massive extraction and pollution derived from urban and industrial areas. As well as human intervention, the study also points out at the rise in ocean temperature.
I would dare to add another factor, predatory explotation of coral reefs in tourist areas, as seen in places like Maracajau, Maragogi, Porto de Galinhas or Porto Seguro.
We all have our share of responsibility. When we buy a souvenir extracted from the bottom of the sea, when we visit a coral reef paying scant attention to is preservation, when we use companies that do not promote sustainable tourism, we are entering the chain of destruction that has deprived Brazil of an environmental treasure.
Next time you read Brazilian coral reefs can compete in size and beauty with the Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, pay attention. You are not being told the truth. Brazilian coral reefs have entered a seemingly irreversible process of destruction. We would like to believe the handful of initiatives working for the preservation of coral reefs will have a real impact and reverse the trend.
In the meantime, we invite you to read Brazilian coral reefs: a handbook for the environmentally conscious tourist, our modest contribution to the issue.