China's Growth Destroyed 80% of Its Coral Reefs

Alarming degradation found, 'window of opportunity' to save them closing

By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 27, 2012 6:37 AM CST

(Newser) – Thirty years of dynamic growth in China has lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty, but the environmental damage has been brutal. The latest evidence: More than 80% of its coral reefs are gone, thanks to development, overfishing, and pollution, reports AFP. A new report calls the damage "a grim picture of decline, degradation, and destruction." Adds the study's author: "The window of opportunity to recover the reefs of the South China Sea is closing rapidly, given the state of degradation revealed."

Around the South China Seas, home to 12,000 square miles of coral reefs, environmental damage has been made worse by competing claims of sovereignty to portions of the waters. "On offshore atolls and archipelagos claimed by six countries in the South China Sea, coral cover has declined from an average of greater than 60% to around 20% within the past 10-15 years," said the report.

In this March 2007 handout photo released by G. Marola, red and pink corals or Corallium rubrum are seen on the seabed of the Mediterranean sea.
In this March 2007 handout photo released by G. Marola, red and pink corals or Corallium rubrum are seen on the seabed of the Mediterranean sea.   (AP Photo/G. Marola)
This July 20, 2011 file photo shows an aerial view of Pag-asa Island, part of the disputed Spratly group of islands, in the South China Sea off the coast of the Philippines.
This July 20, 2011 file photo shows an aerial view of Pag-asa Island, part of the disputed Spratly group of islands, in the South China Sea off the coast of the Philippines.   (AP Photo/Rolex Dela Pena, Pool, File)
« Prev« Prev | Next »Next » Slideshow
My TakeCLICK BELOW TO VOTE
1%
9%
2%
62%
4%
21%
To report an error on this story, notify our editors.

NEWS FROM OUR PARTNERS
Other Sites We Like:   The Street   |   MSN Living   |   PopSugar Tech   |   RealClear   |   24/7 Wall St.   |   Biography   |   Barstool Sports   |   OK!