"It's hard to dump five-and-a-half million tonnes of mud and sand in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park without doing massive environmental damage."
In order to keep up with China’s high demands for coal, Australia has been under pressure more than ever to stay on top with their coal production and exports. The result of Australia’s recent push to produce more coal has been a negative one. Production of coal, CO2 emissions and coal ships passing through the reef have been linked back to the recent decline of the Great Barrier Reef. Recently, coal dust has been found on Australian shores. Coal dust is lethal to coral and its inhabitants. Steven Miles, the Environment Minister, stated that there have been two sources of coal spillage. Speculations of these spillages have been placed on Hay Point. Hay Point is one of Australia’s most productive coal port that exports millions of tons of coal every year. Many conservationists have spoken out against the recent surge in the production of coal. Sam Regester, a member of the activist group Get Up!, believes that coal and the Great Barrier Reef don’t mix and more coal and ships will equal more accidents. Sadly, Greenpeace has come out with statistics that estimate the number of coal ships passing through the reef will increase from 2,000 to more than 10,000 by 2020. The current state of the reef is listed as “poor” according to government scientists which does not go over well for future tourism. An estimated $1.5 billion is brought in every year by tourism to the Great Barrier Reef. The recent environmental damages to the reef has prompted the government to save $1 billion towards improving the water quality of the reef over the course of the next five years.