World Reef Awareness Day
World Reef Awareness Day is a day marked annually on June 1st. It is a day to raise awareness about our coral reefs and how we can protect them.
World Reef Awareness Day was started in 2019 by Raw Elements, a company in the United States that sells natural and safe zinc oxide sunscreen. Their goal was to shed light on the state of our global reefs while also illustrating how even individuals can make a change or take a stand, such as using reef-safe sunscreen and reducing plastic waste.
Coral reefs are living communities of colonial organisms made out of individual polyps that excrete a bone-like skeleton that provides homes to thousands of organisms. Over 90% of coral reefs are situated in the Indo-Pacific region. While the rest of the world’s coral reefs are located in the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean.
Corals are important for many reasons. They are essential to the plant and fish life, they act as the ocean’s filter, they protect beaches and coastlines from erosion, and help contribute to the plant and fish life.
Unfortunately, corals are at risk due to rising sea temperatures. When corals are exposed to elevated temperatures, they respond by expelling algae that they need for survival this makes them vulnerable to infection and death. If all coral reefs were to die, 25% of marine life would lose their habitat.
Industrial pollution, plastic pollution, sewage and chemical sunscreens are causes of the coral’s demise. Unmanaged, high-density tourism is also a threat to the coral reef’s survival.
World Reef Awareness Day unites people belonging to different backgrounds, including the general public, scientists, environmentalists, and social activists, to develop various ideas and techniques to protect the ecosystems of our coral reefs.
Here are a few ways to celebrate the day:
- Do a beach cleanup.
- Reduce or eliminate single-use plastic from your lifestyle.
- Spread awareness about the importance of coral reefs.
- Opt for reef-friendly sun protection.
- Donate to a charity working to protect coral reefs.
- Coral reefs are home to over 1,500 different sea creatures
- The oldest corals appeared 500 million years ago or even earlier.
- The Great Barrier Reef is among the seven natural wonders of the world.
- Even though they are located underwater, coral reefs are close to the surface because they require sunlight.
- Shallow water reefs have tiny algae living in their tissue, which gives them their colour
- The Great Barrier Reef was discovered (accidentally) by Captain James Cook in 1770.