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Coral Reefs - A curious world beneath the surface
Jagriti Hinduja
Content Writer @ Earth Root Foundation, Physics Graduate from Rajdhani College, University of Delhi
(Published on: 23 September, 2020 @04 PM)

Nature never fails to amaze us with its beauty. Coral Reefs, an ecosystem found under water, have always been so tempting that one can’t get enough of them but regrettably they are declining over time and need urgent protection.

Let me first highlight its importance so that we can evidently understand the urgency to save them.

1. FOOD AND SHELTER: Hundreds of millions of people count on coral reefs for their food. Also, reefs sustain a number of fish species.

2. CONSTRUCTION MATERIAL: The skeletal structure in which reefs are held together is due to the presence of Calcium Carbonate (or limestone) which can be extracted from reefs for making cement.

3.  LIFE SAVING DRUGS: Coral Reefs can help cure cancer, HIV, and many more diseases.

4. TOURISM: Coral Reefs proliferate tourism for activities like Scuba Diving and Snorkeling and also generate employment.

5.  PROTECTS SHORELINES: The natural construction of reefs is such that they shield the shorelines from natural calamities like storm and flood and prevent erosion as well.


Coral reefs are degrading at a rapid rate and according to a study, more than 90% of the world's coral reefs will die by 2050 if the current situation prolongs.


Today many Coral Reefs are endangered due to natural phenomena such as hurricanes.

But we humans are immensely responsible for the fall.

 Following are certain human acts accountable for the exploitation:

1. OVERFISHING: Overfishing of herbivorous fishes that survive on seaweeds results in upsurge of seaweeds, which kills reefs.

2. HARMFUL FISHING TECHNIQUES: Detrimental fishing techniques like trawling and using explosives destroy corals.

3. CARELESS TOURISM: Tourists harm corals by touching, polluting and breaking them.

4. AQUARIUM TRADE: Coral Reefs are used to fulfil the growing demand of aquariums.

5.  CLIMATE CHANGE: Owing to Global Warming, our environment is at risk. As reported by IPCC , Global Warming of 1.5℃ would have a catastrophic effect on Coral Reefs and even higher if the temperature rises by 2℃.

6.   INCREASED CARBON DIOXIDE: Due to Global Warming, CO₂ level is soaring which in turn increases acidity level making it difficult for water to carry Calcium Carbonate.

7.   CORAL BLEACHING: Global Warming provokes whitening of Corals known as bleaching which can result in their mortality.

8.   WATER POLLUTION: The pollution from land suffocates corals.

9.    USE OF FERTILISERS AND PESTICIDES: Such chemicals pollute our oceans and seas to a great extent.

10.   SURGED USE OF PLASTICS: Plastic sothers Corals by blocking the required sunlight.

11.  PREDATORS: Predators rely on coral reefs for food and Corals will be ruined if they exceed in population.

12.  CORALS AS GIFTS: Many jewellery and home decor items are rendered from Coral Reefs. It is one of the major reasons for their decrease.

13.   USING REEF-UNFRIENDLY SUNSCREEN: Certain chemicals in sunscreen harm the aquatic animals.


After having a myopic look on the causes of decline, we have unknowingly learnt what to do next.

Wherever you are, close to the sea or miles away, you can always take a step forward to ward off the danger on Coral Reefs.


Let’s take a quick look on how it can be done:

     Reduce the use of single use plastics.

     Use toothpastes and other products that are organic and come in reusable glass jars or biodegradable packaging and use bamboo toothbrushes.

     Conserve water.

     Don’t buy packaged fruits and veggies.

     Divers should not touch reefs.

     Stop disposing chemicals into waterways.

     Don’t gift corals.

     Choose seafood wisely. 

     Do everything you can do to prevent climate change.

     Eat less of red meat as it is directly linked to Global Warming.

     Be careful while boating as your anchor can take away corals with it.

     Remove make-up with reusable cloth instead of cotton pads.

     Use reef-friendly sunscreen.

     Don’t litter in waterways.

     Use only those fertilizers and pesticides that are reef-friendly.

     Aware more and more people about it.


Making small changes in your life can lead to a radical change on Earth! Let’s do it together.

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