Greenpeace warns of coal expansions

A new report by Greenpeace has warned that one coal ship an hour will pass through the Great Barrier Reef by 2020.

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A new report by Greenpeace has warned that one coal ship an hour will pass through the Great Barrier Reef by 2020.

Using data collected from environmental impact statements of proposed coal projects in Queensland Greenpeace has estimated the number of ships passing the reef will rise from around 1,700 to 10,150 in ten years.

It said the increased traffic would result in an increase in the likelihood of oil or chemical spills.

The report has been used to oppose the expansions in Queensland’s mining industry, and particularly the developments at Gladstone.

According to Ninemsn a Greenpeace spokesperson said the Federal Government should suspend all coal port approvals until after a visit by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.

"If approvals continue, there is a very real chance that by the time the real risks are understood irreversible damage will have already been done to this fragile eco-system," they said.

UNESCO is set to visit Queensland on March 5 and has previously expressed concern over government efforts to protect the Great Barrier Reef from industry expansions.

Last year it reprimanded the Government after it failed to tell it about approvals for LNG projects inside the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

Earlier this year the Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management released two further rounds of independent studies showing there was no evidence to suggest dredging developments at Gladstone were impacting water quality.

“There was no evidence that turbidity, pH, oxygen levels, salinity or temperature had any negative impact on water quality in Port Curtis harbour or its estuaries, or fish health concerns," it said.

“Neither was there any clear pattern in the number of exceedances of dissolved metals guidelines for aluminium and copper."

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