Armed conflicts, natural disasters, pollution, poaching, uncontrolled urbanisation and unchecked tourist development pose major problems to World Heritage sites, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco).
With the environment now under greater pressure than ever before, the consequences for both people and nature will be disastrous unless we act now.
The latest example is the degradation of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef World Heritage area. It is primarily caused by climate change instead of localised impacts associated with human population in coastal areas, according to new research.
A study suggests that to restore and conserve healthy coral reefs globally, addressing local problems such as overfishing and pollution won’t be effective unless we also tackle global warming by substantially reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
Over the last year, the Great Barrier Reef has suffered a record-setting bleaching event. The coral hardest hit have been those located in central and northern portions of the Great Barrier Reef – some of the most remote and well-protected in the world.
We need to preserve and protect the nature in the right way and global efforts are needed to achieve this.
In India, the Ganges River is facing formidable pollution pressures and associated threats. Although the Ganges clean-up drive, initiated recently to improve its sanitation, has been a good initiative, more efforts are needed to save it.
People, it is said, are now using about 25% more natural resources than the planet can replace. However, the example set by the developed world shows that things could get far worse – three planets would be needed to support us if everyone lived like people in some Western countries.
Wildlife is failing to cope with the increasing demand for natural resources.
Our natural environment can only take this pressure for so long. The growing loss of habitats, the over-exploitation of wildlife and other environmental threats mean that widespread wildlife extinction and the breakdown of our most important natural systems are inevitable unless we urgently work together for change.
(e-mail address supplied)
Overcharging for bottled water
The letter, “Water rip-off at restaurants” (Gulf Times, August 2), highlighted an important issue. I have also noticed that many restaurants are overcharging their customers for bottled water. This is not fair. I hope the authorities will instruct all restaurants not to fleece customers like this.
Also, filtered tap water should be offered to customers and bottled water supplied only if they specifically ask for it.
(Full name and address supplied)
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