Afghanistan: Security Council resolution calls for 'equal and meaningful participation of women'    UNICEF stresses Afghan girls must not be excluded from school    Paris climate deal could go up in smoke without action: Guterres    A life dedicated to indigenous rights in Brazil    WHO asks for commitments on maternal and newborn health    Invest Saudi showcases investment opportunities at global defense event    France's PSG to play in Riyadh Season Cup Riyadh to host global festival featuring over 500 events in fall    Jeddah to host World Club Handball Championship for second time in a row    Saudi Arabia concludes participation in UK defense show    Saudi Airlines showcases its aircraft to celebrate National Day    UAE makes paradigm shifts in equal pay for both sexes    Al-Badi to participate in Endurance World Championship in Italy    SFDA seizes more than 52,000 perfume manufacturing materials    Construction of the world's largest LEGO brick build of a F1 car begins    King, Crown Prince congratulate Chile president on Independence Day    Global agreements to enhance auditing profession in Saudi Arabia    Women owning the peace    Crown Prince receives phone call from Spain's PM    New study finds specific white blood cell can help treat cancer    Al-Hilal moves into the quarterfinals of AFC Championships 2021    Bollywood actor Sidharth Shukla dies at 40    Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Directs KSrelief to Urgently Provide Malaysia with Medical, Preventive Equipment and Supplies to Address COVID-19 Pandemic    Weather Forecast for Sunday    Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Congratulates President of Maldives on Independence Day    RSNF Commander Patronizes Ceremonial Launching of His Majesty's Ship "Jazan"    OIC Condemns Houthi Attempts to Target Civilians in Saudi Arabia    Philippines evacuates thousands as monsoon rains flood cities, provinces    Heavy rain in India triggers floods, landslides; at least 125 dead    U.S. Records 64,321 New Infections of Coronavirus    Without Fans, Tokyo Olympics Kicked Off    Pilgrims Perform Dhuhr and Asr Prayers at Arafat Holy Site    Dr. Mohammed Sulaiman Al-Jasser, Saudi Arabia's Pick to Chair IsDB Group for the next five years, unanimously approved by BoG Committee of Procedures    Saudi Press: Fitch affirms Saudi Credit Rating at "A" with a revised outlook to stable from negative    Handled Cargo at Saudi Ports Increases during June 2021    SDAIA, DARP & STC Launch Pilgrim's Smart Bracelet (NUSK)    Tabuk sculptor spends 8 years in carving entire Holy Qur'an on 30 marble slabs    2 Goals by Diaz Gives Colombia 3rd Place at Copa America    Yusuf Khan is dead, long live Dilip Kumar    Legendary actor Dilip Kumar, 98, passes away, and with him an era    Saudi Cinema Night at Arab World Institute in Paris Kicks Off    KSU Leads Joint International Scientific Project for Early Detection of Breast Cancer    Saudi Arabia to Participate in Cannes Film Festival 2021    Arab Cup U-17 Championship Draw Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Palestine, Kuwait, in the 1st Group    AWI Hosts Saudi Cinema Nights in Paris    Brazil Beats Chile at Copa America Despite 2nd-Half Red Card    Council of Senior Scholars: Muslim Brothers' Group Don't Represent Method of Islam, rather only Follows its Partisan Objectives, Violating our Graceful Religion    Eid Al-Adha Prayer Performed at the Grand Holy Mosque    Pilgrims Perform Dhuhr and Asr Prayers in Arafat Holy Site    







Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.



Protect and preserve the Red Sea before it becomes a dead sea
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 15 - 04 - 2013


Sadiya A. Nadeem
Saudi Gazette

HIDDEN beneath the ocean, coral reefs are the world's most magical, beautiful and diverse ecosystem. Often referred as the “rainforests of the sea,” coral reefs occupy only less than one percent of the world's ocean surface, yet they offer coastline protection and are the driving force behind tourism and fish industries.
Healthy coral reefs can produce up to 35 tons of fishes per sq. km each year, a marine study reported. The Saudi Arabian Red Sea in particular is known for its exotic, delicate and bio-diverse coral reefs and rich marine life.
Around 1,200 species of fish have been recorded in the Red Sea with around 10 percent not found anywhere else, according to Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation Association (HEPCA).
Factors contributing to Red Sea pollution
Urbanization and industrialization has not only affected living beings on land but also those that are thousands of feet under water.
Dr. Al-Sofyani Abdulmohsin A. from the marine biology department of King Abdulaziz University said coral reefs which are farther from Saudi Arabia's coastline are healthy and in good condition.
But coral reefs near industrialized cities like Jeddah, Jazan and Yanbu are under severe environmental stress. “Uncontrolled coastal development, dredging, and raw sewage water being dumped into the sea play a vital role in damaging the coral reefs and fishes in the sea,” he said.
A study on the status of coral reefs on the Saudi Arabian Red Sea stated that Jeddah produces more than 800,000m3 of wastewater per day, which is discharged into the sea near the center and south of the city.
Abdulmohsin said effluents from sewage results in excessive growth of algae on coral reefs, preventing sunlight from reaching them and ultimately leading the corals to death.
The study further revealed that desalination plants, which pump approximately 2.27 million cubic meters of salty, hot water into the sea, also threaten the coral reef's ecosystem.
Massive oil spills is another major factor affecting the growth and development of coral reefs and fishes. More than eight accidents, spilling 450 tons of oil, occurred at the port during the last couple of years, damaging more than 600 m2 of coral reefs, the study reported.
Experts said that cleaning oil spills could sometime take years or even decades. Thanks to global warming, climate change is also contributing to the decline and destruction of the coral reefs.
Abdulmohsin said that increase in sea temperature, which takes place due to absorption of carbon dioxide into the seawater, means “coral bleaching,” resulting in the death of coral reefs. Marine experts believe that if emission of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is not controlled, then it is just a matter of time before coral reefs become extinct. Ironically, another threat arises from the incredible beauty and variety of the Red Sea. A large number of scuba divers and shell collectors dive to exploit its rich resources for selfish gains.
Decline of fish production
The sea is not a trash can where people can empty all their waste and throw leftover food, cans and bottles. People simply do not realize to what extent their garbage is contributing in polluting the Red Sea and destroying the beautiful life of sea creatures, said a marine faculty, adding that destructive fishing methods is another menace.
Stephanie Bodden, a student at the Red Sea Environmental (RSEC) studying sustainability and coral reef conservation, said: “The reason behind the Red Sea getting polluted is most often plastic bags, and fishing nets and fishing lines that often get entangled in the corals. Plastic bags suffocate the corals and harm the sea creatures. For example, turtles cannot distinguish between plastic bags and jellyfish for instance.”
Bodden added: “There are also nutrient impacts from hotels/cities and from the boats that go on day trips. For example, toilets are emptied and food is thrown into the sea.”
Fish production in the Red Sea has declined by 30–40 percent, according to Dr. Talal Abu Shoushah, general manager of Jeddah's Fisheries center.
The adviser to the president of the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment Protection (PMEP), Dr. Ahmad Ashour, said that pollution rate has reached up to 70 percent on Jeddah's coastline. “About 150 kms of Jeddah's coastline has become useless for sea creatures. If the level of pollution is not controlled or treated then the Kingdom will soon have to import fish and shrimps to meet its demands.”
Protecting the Red Sea
Saudi government authorities, private sectors, and faculties of marine sciences regularly carry out clean up drives of seabeds and shores, said Abdulmohsin.
Christain Von Mach from the RSEC said: “HEPCA is trying to control dive/snorkeling and boat tourism and reveal bad behavior (destroying coral reefs) of some dive operators. PERSGA is trying to set standards for investigating the reefs of the Red Sea region and to cooperate with all countries to protect the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.” Experts, however, said that more efforts are required to keep the Red Sea clean and pollution free. To preserve the coral reef ecosystem of the Red Sea, Von Mach suggests marine protected areas and national parks with no human-induced activities, not even diving or fishing.
“Leave nothing behind. Take all back with you or put it in proper rubbish bins what you bring. Don't throw anything into the sea. If you walk in shallow water or go for a swim, be careful where you are walking so as not to harm any corals,” Von Mach advises tourists.
Some marine experts also call for more awareness programs in public places, schools and universities to educate people about conserving and preserving the beauty of the Red Sea for future generations.


Clic here to read the story from its source.