Original environment rehabilitation manual 3.35

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As the threats to coral reefs are thus great; organisations that promote and distribute appropriate technologies to deal with these problems are thus one of the main solutions to keep the coral reefs alive. It is clear that this approach must be the first line of defence, rather than trying to repair any damage at coral reefs afterwards.

In practice, although there are some threats unto very little can be done by local NGO's (eg windborne soil runoff), there are at least some measures local organisations can take to decrease the threats/pressure on reefs. These include:

  • First and foremost, making sure that sewage no longer ends up into neighbouring coral reefs. This can be done by introducing composting toilets. Faeces from these toilets can simply be reintroduced into agricultural land so that a ecological nutrient loop is created.
  • Eliminating of soil runoff from farming and construction of roads, buildings, ports, channels, and harbors
  • Eliminating of soil runoff and contamination from inland mines of copper, gold and others. Copper, a common industrial pollutant has been shown to interfere with the life history and development of coral polyps. Both types of pollution can be measured at the water outlets of mines. If measurements indicate too much soil runoff or contamination, the local ministry of environment or alternatively other environmental organisations can be alerted and action can then be taken.
  • Eliminating local coral mining. Instead of coral, other construction materials can be used.
  • Eliminating overfishing: this can be done by measures that eliminate the consumption of non-bred marine life in the region completely. For example, acquaculture (eg mariculture) can be introduced. Also, rather than only relying on fish, other marine life (eg species that have become a pest, species that still exist in high numbers in the region, ...) and algae (which can be processed into other protein-based products (hereby being fairly close to fish, as these are high-protein foodsources too) can be used. An other alternative is to completely switch to the use of agriculture.
  • Reducing the local greenhouse gas emissions. This can be done by eliminating the use of fossil fuels. Instead, electricity, oxyhydrogen, hydrogen, liquid nitrogen, compressed air, ... can be used. As could be read in the threats section, the temperature increase needs to be kept under 500 co2 ppm or about 2°Celsius, meaning that even the most ambitious co2 reductions by the IPCC to date are achieved, the reefs will be on the virge of complete extinction and could possible already be extinct in several parts of the world. [1]As such, it is of vital importance that all organisations, dedicated to the protection of coral reefs, campaign on keeping well below this limit (at least by 1°C, and ideally by 2°C), and take local action and action within their own organisation to prevent any emissions of greenhouse gases.
  • When it is likely that certain coral species will not survive no mather how well the reefs are maintained and protected (which is a real possibility given the temperature increases noted above), coral gene banks can be started up or species can be provided to already existing coral gene banks.

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