Australia has OK'd a plan to dump 3 million cubic meters of sludge in the Great Barrier Reef. The mud will come from widening a coal port on the nearby coast. Australia's Environment Minister gave the go-ahead. Environmentalists are angry about the possible damage. They say it is shocking that profits are put ahead of such an important marine environment. Authorities say the sludge will not be dumped on top of any coral.
The reef is the world's largest and most famous coral reef system. It stretches 2,600km and covers around 344,400 square kilometres. It gets special protection to limit damage from fishing and tourism. Climate change is bleaching and killing the coral. The reef creates $3 billion a year from tourism. Greenpeace said the dumping, "is one more body blow…which further threatens marine life". The WWF said it was "a sad day" for the reef and its future.