Coal dust a major threat to Great Barrier Reef

Fresh concerns have been raised over the future health of the Great Barrier Reef.

A new study by the Australian Institute of Marine Science shows large amounts of coal dust can quickly kill coral.

The research, which saw scientists expose marine species to varying levels of coal dust, also suggested it can slow the growth rates of fish and seagrass by 50 per cent.


The tests showed the coral subjected to the highest concentrations died within two weeks, while some fish and seagrass also died.

The World Heritage Site, off the north coast of Queensland, is subjected to pollution from a number of nearby mining companies and is also part of a major shipping channel.