Posted by: ecodestination | March 10, 2009

Sewage turns corals black in Taiwan

Imagine going on vacation somewhere with azure waters. You decide to go snorkeling, check out the local underwater fauna and flora and head toward the local coral reefs. You wonder if your goggles are dirty-the corals look black! (Who knew they could turn a color different from white?) Very unfortunately, the corals are black, so forget rubbing your goggles clean (if only it were that easy!).

On the (somewhat) bright side, this phenomenon is currently limited to Taiwan’s southeast coast. The corals turned black from disease. The culprit is probably untreated sewage. Can you believe this?

Damn, I can.

For a long time, people had suspected this would be a problem-black corals-that more reefs were turning black, and so on. People only suspected because there was no available information to look at on this situation, no research had been done on it, and nobody knew enough about it to speak up or call for action.

Finally, Chen Chao-Iun, a researcher from Taiwan’s Academia Sinica, said that the problem is worst in areas of waters up to 5 m. (16.4 ft.) deep and 300 m. offshore from a couple of Taiwan’s outlying islands.

Chao-Iun seems mostly concerned about the effects this will have on tourism: “If you snorkel, you’ll see it’s black. If it’s all black, there won’t be too many tourists,” he told Reuters.

The Taiwanese researchers have communicated their findings to the government. Next, they will check other offshore areas where coral reefs are found for damage.



  1. […] coral reefs are in (and shellfish reefs too, although we haven’t discussed that) not just because of fuck-up humans, but also because of global warming. Wait, that’s our fault too (unless you believe that the […]

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