Over 4.5 million people in South Asia may be affected by Degradation of Coral reefs: IPCC Report

Coral Reefs plays an important part in more than 25 % marine biodiversity. 

Recently Intergovernmental Panel on climate change (IPCC) released it's sixth assessment report (AR6 ) on impact , adaption and Vulnerability. And as per the report , degradation and loss of coral reefs can affect about 4.5 million people in South Asia and Indian ocean. 

The report mentioned the effect of global warming and anthropogenic  activities on Asia's coral reefs. Due to environment stress , coral reefs are being bleached and dying because of  changes in microorganism of coral . 

And this loss of coral reefs can affect about 4.5 million people's livelihood in southeast Asia and  Indian Ocean. 

Image source : NationalGeographic

According to IPCC report , there are about 3.5 million fishers in Southeast Asia and 1.5 million fishers in India ocean in coral reef fisheries sector, who are going to be affected. 

“The reason why we talk about the issue from the coral view point is because they occupy only 0.1 per cent of the global sea surfaces. But more than 25 per cent of marine biodiversity is supported by them, which includes fisheries as well. They are the first that get affected by high temperatures,” Roxy Mathew Koll, climate scientist, Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune, said. 

And he also said" “The oceans absorb more than 93 per cent of the excessive heat from global warming and lot of this heat is going to the Indian Ocean and surrounding seas, where our fisheries are,”.

The report said " “The economic loss under different climate change scenarios were estimated to range from $27.78 million to $31.72 million annually in Nharang Bay, Vietnam. In Bangladesh, the coral reefs of St. Martin’s Island contribute $33.6 million per year to the local economy. Climate change, along with other anthropogenic activities, has been identified as a threat these habitats,”

In south china sea , some 571 coral species have been impacted due to global climate changes and anthropogenic activities. 

As per the IPCC report  “Coastal habitats of Asia are diverse and the impacts of climate change including rising temperature, ocean acidification and sea level rise has been known to affect the services and the livelihood of people depending on it. The risk of irreversible loss of many marine and coastal ecosystems increases with global warming, especially at 2 degrees Celsius (°C) or more,” .

Roxy Mathew Koll also said "“We are now having marine heatwaves that can have an anomaly of three-four degrees. These can last for a few days to weeks to months and even to years. In the North-East Pacific Ocean, there is a blob that has stayed for more than a year and led to the collapse of fisheries in the region,”.

The growth of coral was predicted to decline by the end of century due to human activities. 

The functioning of symbiotic algae of corals and its bacterial consortia is largely affected by rise in seawater temperature. And this phenomenon results in coral bleaching and mortality.

“Some recent studies have shown that the intensity and area the marine heatwaves are covering have increased decade by decade. In the last four decades, there has been a two- to three-fold increase in the marine heatwaves in the Bay of Bengal,” Koll said.

Risk of the loss of coral is high in the province of Papua in Indonesia, the Philippines, Japan, India, northern Maldives, the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea.

Now we have to think over necessary actions to meet the problem of coral reef degradation. 

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