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Importance of coral reefs

dennisloweseeingthereefsfirsthandUnder the sea; Under the sea;

Baby it’s better down where it’s wetter,

Take it from me.

The favourite ditty from the Disney film The Little Mermaid could very well have been the theme song this morning when officials from the Ministry of Environment and its numerous departments, led by the Coastal Zone Management Unit, took 48 people under the water to the island’s reefs as part of the education outreach programme.

In recognition of World Environment Day, the Atlantis Submarines made a trip to the Lord Willoughby shipwreck and the reef off the west coast, down to 147 feet for an appreciation of the state of the island’s reefs.

Operations Manager of Atlantis, Robert Hinds, stated that the company had “long recognised the importance of conservation of the coral reefs and the ecosystem simply because it is the centre of our livelihood”.

He added that they were happy to partner with the CZMU to bring awareness to the importance of the coral reefs.

Prior to launch, Minister of the Environment Dr. Denis Lowe commented that home-based and marine based pollution were two of the main factors affecting the reefs and which they had to guard against.

Congratulating the Coastal Zone on the work it has done thus far in protecting the shorelines and ecosystems, he stated: “We lamented only recently over the issue of illegal dumping and how it is impacting our marine space.”

Further calling on all Barbadians to join in ensuring a safe marine environment free of dumping, Lowe said Walkers Bay was one such area identified by the Environmental Protection Department after research and study.

“We lament the fact that the pollution is not only home-based, but some of it is really ocean based where persons who visit from other waters deposit their garbage on the ocean floor and it finds its way from coast to coast.

“Once upon a time we were merely concerned about transshipment results relative to pollution. Now we have to be concerned about common practices among ordinary people in their attempt to derive their livelihood from the ocean, at the same time it is damaging this precious resource,” said the minister.

Because of the island’s status as a small island developing state, he said it had a limited land and water space, but the practice of pollution led to limits on the ability to derive “the greatest amounts of benefits from the ocean”. (LB)

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