Australia Great Barrier Reef dredge dumping plan approved

BBC, January 31

Australian authorities have approved a project to dump dredged sediment in the Great Barrier Reef marine park as part of a project to create one of the world’s biggest coal ports.

The decision was made by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

Scientists had urged it not to back the project, saying the sediment could smother or poison coral.

Several companies want to use the Abbot Point port to export coal reserves from the Galilee Basin area.

Abbot Point lies south of Townsville on the Queensland coast.

Late last year, the government approved an application for the coal terminal to be expanded. The dredging is needed to allow ships into the port.

[…]

The disposal operation would be “subject to strict environmental conditions”, it added.

Also: New Scientist: Mud dump in Great Barrier Reef park could choke life

Brodie says he is not against the ports, and notes that there are alternatives to dumping the dredged soil. Although they are expensive, long jetties can be built into deep water to avoid dredging altogether. Or if dredging goes ahead, it can be secured behind seawalls. “They just want to do it as quick and dirty as possible,” he says.

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