Friday, December 15, 2006

Caribbean coral reef being damaged

Report: Caribbean coral reef being damaged


BELIZE CITY -- Fertilizer and sediment runoff from sugarcane, banana and
pineapple plantations are threatening tourism by damaging a coral reef
stretching along the Caribbean coasts of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and
Honduras, according to a report released on Tuesday.

The report by the World Resources Institute and other groups said that
reducing pesticides, fertilizers and erosion could help head off increasing
damage to the world's second-largest barrier reef, which stretches over 600

The report estimates that over 80 percent of the sediment and over half of
all nutrients that damage the reefs originate in Honduras, whose large
rivers drain into the Caribbean.

"Our analysis shows that pollution from farms in Honduras can inadvertently
damage the entire Mesoamerican reef, which is an important source of revenue
from tourism and fisheries," said Lauretta Burke, an expert in coastal
ecosystems for the resources institute and one of the authors of the report.

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