South China Sea coral reef destruction ‘recoverable’, Chinese think-tank chief says

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

After: Fiery Cross Reef, Jun 28, 2015 After: Fiery Cross Reef, Jun 28, 2015
The president of the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, Wu Shicun, said strict ecological protection measures were guiding the construction China is carrying out on seven reefs.
The “green construction ethos” of the project “ensures the affected area is as small as possible, the time period [of construction] is as short as possible and the level of impact is minimal”, according to a translation of Mr Wu’s response to questions from the ABC.
In a bid to allay environmental concerns, he said the construction was on reefs that are “already dead”.
Mr Wu said the material being dredged to reinforce the new facilities was “dead coral debris”.
Although not an official spokesman, Wu Shicun’s organisation is overseen by the powerful State Council.
Use left and right arrow keys to control image transition
Before: Subi Reef, Jul 27, 2012
Before: Subi Reef, Jul 27, 2012
After: Subi Reef, Jun 5, 2015 After: Subi Reef, Jun 5, 2015
While China is by no means the only country to have carried out construction work in the hotly-contested area, the speed and scale of Beijing’s island-building in the past three years has caused the most diplomatic concern — and environmental concerns are rising.
“Dredging an isolated atoll is irreversible once a shallow reef flat is covered in mud and sand to create an aircraft runway,” Terry Hughes, a coral reef specialist at James Cook University in Townsville, said.
Professor Hughes has previously published research with Chinese scientists on the health of South China Sea coral.
“It’s not scientifically credible to claim that massive dredging projects in the SCS have no environmental impact,” he said.
Research, published in 2012, showed that coral abundance was already down to about 20 per cent on the remote reefs prior to China beginning its massive construction drive.
Use left and right arrow keys to control image transition
Read more: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-01-25/south-china-sea-coral-reef-destruction-recoverable/7110878

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail