Local August 24, 2017 | 8:23 pm

Pollutants menace 80% of Dominican coral reefs; biologists to the rescue

Diver over croals. Photo Fundacion Grupo-Puntacana

Santo Domingo.- As staggering 80% of Dominican Republic’s coral reefs are threatened by environmental pollution and overfishing, Environment minister Francisco Dominguez affirmed Thursday.

“Here in the Dominican Republic, 80% of coral reefs are threatened by human activities, especially overfishing, pollution, plastic, sedimentation, and water-borne particles that kill marine life,” the official said.

He cited Green Space, which affirms that there’s only 8% of living coral in Juan Dolio; In Punta Cana and Bavaro less than 5% and no more than 3% in Las Terrenas, Samana.

He said however that the situation in Samaná and Montecristi is different, because groups of biologists work to preserve corals.

“Pollution and overfishing today are killing the main source of coral life,” he said, and stressed coral’s two major functions; the maintenance of beaches by generating white sands, as it’s the main source of marine life.

“Corals cover only 1% of the planet, but contain 25% of the marine species, which in turn feed 10% of the world population annually,” said the official.

A square kilometer of reefs produces 15 tons of fish and seafood per year, he said, with estimated profit from trade and production of US$5.7 trillion, noting that more than one billion people are living thanks to coral reefs.

“In the Caribbean, it’s estimated that in the last fifty years, half of our corals have died. Climate change seriously affects the lives of these corals,” Dominguez warned during in the Think Innovation activity, “Waste + Energy = Sustainability” hosted by the Dominican-Swiss Chamber of Commerce and Tourism (CCTDS) and the Swiss embassy.

Comments are closed.