Stu­dents travel to take part in reef campaign

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

IT SEEMS the cur­rent state of the Great Bar­rier Reef is con­tin­u­ing to cause a stir across the seas as stu­dents from the Chi­nese En­vi­ron­ment Pro­tec­tion Foun­da­tion trav­elled to Air­lie Beach last week to take part in com­mu­nity ac­tion to pro­tect the iconic reef.

Stu­dents at­tended Whit­sun­day Shop­ping Cen­tre on Thurs­day with Whit­sun­day Res­i­dents Against Dump­ing (WRAD) com­mit­tee and com­mu­nity mem­bers to hand de­liver letters to Aus­tralia’s big banks ask­ing them to stop con­tribut­ing to the dredg­ing and ex­pan­sion of Ab­bot Point.

Whit­sun­day res­i­dent and co-founder of the Or­der of Un­der­wa­ter Coral He­roes (OUCH), Tony Fontes also dis­cussed the com­plex ecosys­tems found in the reef with the stu­dents dur­ing his pop­u­lar reef dis­cov­ery talk.

WRAD spokesper­son Brit­tney Gre­gory and Aus­tralian Ma­rine Con­ser­va­tion So­ci­ety’s or­gan­iser Cherry Muddle also ad­dressed the stu­dents and an­swered ques­tions.

Ms Muddle said it was in­spir­ing to wit­ness the stu­dents con­cerns about the dredg­ing and dump­ing threat­en­ing the reef.

“The stu­dents and teach­ers trav­elled all the way from China to Aus­tralia for the first time last Thurs­day af­ter hear­ing about the Fight for the Reef campaign. They felt moved to see the Great Bar­rier and take part in com­mu­nity ac­tion to pro­tect it,” she said.

The in­ter­na­tional stu­dents in­scribed a ban­ner with ‘Save our Reef’ writ­ten in Man­darin.

The Chi­nese En­vi­ron­ment Pro­tec­tion Foun­da­tion was the first non profit or­gan­i­sa­tion ded­i­cated to en­vi­ron­men- tal pro­tec­tion in China, and is a non-gov­ern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tion with spe­cial con­sul­ta­tive sta­tus with the UN Economic and So­cial Coun­cil.

Ms Muddle said the com- mu­nity and the rest of the world will con­tinue the fight to pro­tect the reef.

“The lo­cal com­mu­nity is re­ally wor­ried about the im­pacts of dredg­ing and dump- ing. The eyes of the world on are on the de­ci­sions be­ing made by Aus­tralian gov­ern­ments about the future of the Reef,” Ms Muddle said.

PAS­SION­ATE FROM AFAR: A group of in­ter­na­tional Stu­dents from China En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Foun­da­tion with lo­cal en­vi­ron­men­tal con­ser­va­tion­ists Cherry Muddle, Tony Fontes and Brit­tney Gre­gory.

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