Land-Sourced Pollution with an Emphasis on Domestic Sewage: Lessons from the Caribbean and Implications for Coastal Development on Indian Ocean and Pacific Coral Reefs

Source: DeGeorges, 1988
Source: DeGeorges, 1988

Sustainability 2010, 2, 2919-2949; doi:10.3390/su2092919

sustainability
ISSN 2071-1050
www.mdpi.com/journal/sustainability

Andre DeGeorges 1,2,*, Thomas J. Goreau 1 and Brian Reilly 2

1 Global Coral Reef Alliance, 37 Pleasant Street, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA; E-Mail: goreau@bestweb.net

2 Department of Nature Conservation, Tshwane University of Technology, Private Bag X680, 0001 Pretoria, South Africa; E-Mail: reillybk@tut.ac.za

* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed: E-Mail: andredeg@verizon.net; Tel.: +1-757-854-1303; Fax: +1-703-790-1578. Received: 6 August 2010; in revised form: 5 September 2010 / Accepted: 9 September 2010 / Published: 14 September 2010

Abstract: This paper discusses land-sourced pollution with an emphasis on domestic sewage in the Caribbean in relation to similar issues in the Indian Ocean and Pacific. Starting on a large-scale in the 1980s, tropical Atlantic coastlines of Florida and Caribbean islands were over-developed to the point that traditional sewage treatment and disposal were inadequate to protect fragile coral reefs from eutrophication by land-sourced nutrient pollution. This pollution caused both ecological and public health problems. Coral reefs were smothered by macro-algae and died, becoming rapidly transformed into weedy algal lawns, which resulted in beach erosion, and loss of habitat that added to fisheries collapse previously caused by over-fishing. Barbados was one of the first countries to recognize this problem and to begin implementation of effective solutions. Eastern Africa, the Indian Ocean Islands, Pacific Islands, and South East Asia, are now starting to develop their coastlines for ecotourism, like the Caribbean was in the 1970s. Tourism is an important and increasing component of the economies of most tropical coastal areas. There are important lessons to be learned from this Caribbean experience for coastal zone planners, developers, engineers, coastal communities and decision makers in other parts of the world to assure that history does not repeat itself. Coral reef die-off from land-sourced pollution has been eclipsed as an issue since the ocean warming events of 1998, linked to global warming. Addressing ocean warming will take considerable international cooperation, but much of the land-sourced pollution issue, especially sewage, can be dealt with on a watershed by watershed basis by Indian Ocean and Pacific countries. Failure to solve this critical issue can adversely impact both coral reef and public health with dire economic consequences, and will prevent coral reef recovery from extreme high temperature events. Sewage treatment, disposal options, and nutrient standards are recommended that can serve as a reference point but must be fine-tuned to local ecology.

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Suitability of mineral accretion as a rehabilitation method for cold-water coral reefs

Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, Susanna M. Strömberg a, Tomas Lundälv b, Thomas J. Goreau c, August, 2010

Suitability-of-mineral-accretion-as-a-rehabilitation-method-for-cold-water-coral-reefs
An example of images taken at the start (left) and at the end (right) of the experiment. Measurements were performed in the free software ImageJ (version 1.42a). This particular coral piece was reared in the lowest applied current density (LI: 2.0V, ≤0.06 A m-2). A new bud has developed from a small protrusion into a long calice, and the upper left calice (numbered 4, 5) has grown noticeable.

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What is the Right Target for CO2?: 350 ppm is a Death Sentence for Coral Reefs and Low Lying Islands, the Safe Level of CO2 for SIDS is Around 260 Parts Per Million

T. Goreau, PhD, Delegation of Jamaica, Scientific & Technical Briefing to the Association of Small Island States, United Nations Climate Change Conference, Copenhagen, Denmark, December 7-18 2009

Summary: THE LONG-TERM SEA LEVEL THAT CORRESPONDS TO CURRENT CO2 CONCENTRATION IS ABOUT 23 METERS ABOVE TODAYʼS LEVELS, AND THE TEMPERATURES WILL BE 6 DEGREES C OR MORE HIGHER. THESE ESTIMATES ARE BASED ON REAL LONG TERM CLIMATE RECORDS, NOT ON MODELS. WE HAVE NOT YET FELT THE CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS OF THE CURRENT EXCESS OF GREENHOUSE GASES PRODUCED BY FOSSIL FUELS, AND THE DATA SHOWS THEY WILL IN THE LONG RUN BE MANY TIMES HIGHER THAN IPCC MODELS PROJECT. IN ORDER TO PREVENT THESE LONG TERM CHANGES CO2 MUST BE STABILIZED AT LEVELS BELOW PREINDUSTRIAL VALUES, AROUND 260 PARTS PER MILLION. CO2 BUILDUP MUST BE REVERSED, NOT ALLOWED TO INCREASE OR EVEN BE STABILIZED AT 350 PPM, WHICH WOULD AMOUNT TO A DEATH SENTENCE FOR CORAL REEFS, SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATES, AND BILLIONS OF PEOPLE LIVING ALONG LOW LYING COASTLINES. THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT ALL THE TOOLS FOR REVERSING GLOBAL WARMING AND REDUCING CO2 TO SAFE LEVELS ARE READY, PROVEN, AND COST EFFECTIVE, BUT ARE NOT BEING SERIOUSLY USED DUE TO LACK OF POLICIES AND FUNDING.
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Tourism and Sustainable Coral Reefs

Tourism And Sustainable Coral Reefs
October 5 2009
Global Coral Reef Alliance White Paper

Thomas J. Goreau abc*
a President, Global Coral Reef Alliance, Cambridge, MA, USA
b Scientific Advisor, Yayasan Karang Lestari, Pemuteran, Bali, Indonesia
c Scientific Advisor, Gili Eco Trust, Gili Trawangan, Lombok, Indonesia

*Email: goreau@bestweb.net

ABSTRACT
Environmentally unsustainable tourism has been a major, although localized, contributor to coral reef destruction and degradation, severely impacting ecotourism quality, beach sand supplies, protection of coastlines from erosion, fisheries, and marine biodiversity. Nevertheless, hotels and dive shops could readily apply modern coral reef restoration methods to grow back reefs, providing high quality ecotourism in front of Ray Ban outlet resorts, growing back sandy beaches naturally, restoring fisheries habitat, and preserving marine species from global warming extinction. A large-scale effort by the tourism industry is proposed to make tourism part of the solution, rather than part of the problem. National and international policies are needed to encourage this.

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AMLC/ALMC, Association of Marine Laboratories of the Caribbean Asociación de Laboratorios Marinos del Caribe

Proceedings of the 34th Scientific Meeting of the Memorias de la 34va Reunión Científica de la Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Research, Caribbean Fisheries Council Institute for Tropical Marine Ecology Inc. May 25-29, 2009.

Download paper: AMLC/ALMC, Association of Marine Laboratories of the Caribbean Asociación de Laboratorios Marinos del Caribe