How to Prevent Coral Bleaching
Coral bleaching is the loss of colour by corals, which is usually the sign that they are undergoing some stress. Therefore, to prevent coral bleaching, avoid or keep at a minimal level, actions that induce stress on the corals. Stress can be induced by many factors, some which include an increase or decrease of water temperature (usually ascribed to global warming), increased or reduced water salinity, starvation, changes in water chemical composition, and pathogen infections. Following measures that prevent such mishaps will be a great step towards the prevention of coral bleaching.
- Minimise the use of chemically enhanced fertilizers, insecticides, pesticides, and herbicides. Such chemicals are non degradable and they will end up in the rivers and oceans and will disturb the natural ecosystem.
- Practice safe and proper disposal of industrial waste. Some harmful industrial waste must be treated before being disposed of in bodies of water.
- Respect and follow rules and regulations as well as dos and don’ts when you visit a coral reef area.
- Avoid water pollution wherever possible. Do not dump chemicals (especially human waste) or oils in bodies of water.
- Avoid deforestation which increases global warming. Instead, participate in tree growing campaigns by planting trees or giving financial support.
- Avoid overfishing and the use of fish nets. Overfishing results in a drop in zooplankton and therefore starvation of corals.
- Refrain from starting a live rock aquarium. The rock is increasingly being depleted from the reefs.
- Take all possible measures to prevent actions that exacerbate global warming. Avoid desertification and the release of harmful chemicals into the atmosphere, as these degrade the ozone layer which prevents or limits the amount of sunlight that reaches the earth’s surface. Temperature increases have been cited to be among the major causes of coral bleaching because a continued increase in world temperatures has been recorded.
- Water pollution must be limited since the placement of dark substances with high absorbance tends to promote water temperature increases.
- Activities like cloud seeding over a coral reef would form clouds to act as a blanket to help reduce temperatures across the water.
In summary, our behaviour and attitude towards our natural environment are great determining factors of how much coral bleaching we are going to cause, and how much aquarium life we are going to spare.