Ban Sediment Dumping in the Great Barrier Reef


Target: Australian Environment Minister, Greg Hunt

Goal: Reverse approval to dump tons of sediment within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

Despite ongoing controversy the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has approved a project to expand nearby coal ports. A massive amount of sediment dredged during this expansion would be dumped inside the park, threatening Australia’s world-renowned Great Barrier Reef ecosystem.

Expansion of the Abbot Point Coal Port will mean an additional 70 million tons of coal passing through the port each year, according to the Ecologist. This expansion will require dredging an estimated three million cubic meters of sediment. The park authority has approved a dump site for the sediment within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park’s boundaries, despite scientists’ warnings about the serious harm this dumping will cause nearby coral reefs.

Corporations operating at the Abbot Point Coal Port insist that flora and fauna are unlikely to be damaged from the project’s expansion, however the United Nations and the World Heritage Committee disagree. The World Heritage Committee will meet in Doha, Qatar in June and is considering reclassifying the reef as a heritage site “in danger.”

Don’t let the coal industry destroy the Great Barrier Reef. Demand that Australia’s Environment Minister reverse the decision to allow the dumping of sediment in this sensitive and protected area.


Dear Mr. Hunt,

The decision to expand the Abbot Point Coal Port will produce an estimated three million cubic meters of sediment from dredging, which will be dumped inside of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The international scientific community has warned against the potential impacts of dumping dredge so close to the Great Barrier Reef. Environmentalists and citizens from around the world have also raised the alarm and are urging you to prevent this damage.

Industry reassurance that the sediment is “non-toxic” is not enough to protect the reef ecosystem, already threatened by pollution and the ocean’s increasing acidity. In response to this project, the World Heritage Committee is set to meet in Doha, Qatar in June where they will discuss listing the reef as heritage site in danger.

I call on you to protect the Great Barrier Reef–one of Australia’s greatest treasures–from the harm that nearby dredge dumping would certainly cause. As Environment Minister it falls on you to protect this invaluable, fragile ecosystem from corporate interests that see it as little more than a convenient dump site. Please, reverse approval of permits to dump sediment from coal port expansion anywhere within the boundaries of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Sam Harris via Flickr

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