Preventing water crises
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Preventing water crises

Polluted water is responsible for the tragedy of coral reefs

The disheartening condition of our wonderful coral reefs is one of the most painful examples of the shocking and perhaps irreversible environmental processes currently under way around us. According to an Australian study, the destruction of coral is caused by polluted river water, which inhibits their capacity to regenerate.

The recently published study has analysed data from 1995 to 2017 of 46 sites, and came to the conclusion that the sections where the coral reefs were exposed to polluted river water recovered much slower after bleaching, and were much more susceptible to other diseases, as well.

“Climate change and other environmental factors have already damaged a significant portion of the Great Barrier Reef. Its survival may depend on the extent to which it is able to resist those harmful impacts, and the degree to which it is able to recover after the destruction of the coral”, the researchers explained.

A 2018 report by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has stated that one of the greatest risk factors is the water contaminated with effluent and artificial fertilizers that reaches the Great Barrier Reef from agricultural areas, therefore the WWF urged the introduction of laws that provide greater protection for that fragile wonder of the natural world.

The fate of the Great Barrier Reef depends on the extent to which it is able to regenerate after a disaster such as coral bleaching Photo: Shutterstock

The Danube is full of microplastics

Microplastics polluting natural bodies of water – which are present in increasing quantities around the world – present a major environmental, food safety and health hazard. Among the rivers in Hungary that have been tested so far, the most were found in the Danube: 50 particles per cubic metre.

1 cigarette butt – 1000 litres of polluted water

Most of the complaints one hears about smoking concern its health hazards, while there is much less said about the damage that is still done after the cigarette is extinguished. Yet the cotton buds and straws targeted by those aiming to combat plastic pollution come a poor second in terms of polluting the seas – cigarette butts are clearly the winner.

So recycling is expensive? What about the waste dumped in the oceans?

The plastic polluting the oceans costs mankind 2.5 trillion dollars a year. The authors of a study published in the Marine Pollution Bulletin warned that previously, specialists had seriously underestimated the value of the social and economic damage caused by plastic waste.

Millions of children die each year due to lack of access to clean water

According to a UN report, a child died every five seconds somewhere in the world in 2017, but most of those deaths could have been prevented, as they were mostly caused by lack of clean water, hygiene, nutrition and basic healthcare services.