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The weird way that human waste is killing corals

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on Wired or enjoy below

🗞️ Driving the news: The Hawaiian coral reefs' delicate balance is threatened by human waste, affecting the intricate relationship between reef species 
• Human waste, including sewage and nitrogen-rich liquid, stimulates algae, choking out the corals and affecting the entire ecosystem, especially when combined with overfishing

🔭 The context: The coral reefs have already been strained by rising ocean temperatures, leading to bleaching
• Research focusing on 120 miles of Hawaiian coastline from 2003 to 2019 showed that cleaner water and the presence of herbivorous fish like parrotfish have a significant positive impact on the health of reefs

🌎 Why does it matter for the planet: Coral reefs are essential to the health of the ocean and the planet, playing a vital role in supporting marine biodiversity
• The destruction of these reefs due to pollution and other human threats could have far-reaching consequences

⏭️ What's next: There’s a need for improved wastewater management worldwide, with less nitrogen flowing into reef ecosystems to inhibit algae blooms
• Conserving reefs isn't just about addressing marine problems like overfishing but also requires fixing problems on land, breaking down traditional silos between different conservation areas

💬 One quote: "We tend to think about fish as a food problem, and we think about wastewater as a human health problem. But all of these things are connected to the reef—and the reef is centrally connected to the health of human communities and to the health of our planet" (Tom Dempsey, oceans program director at the Nature Conservancy)

📈 One stat: In the 2015 heat wave, up to 50 % of corals were lost in some areas, and more than 25 % across the board

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