Contributed by Adam Carlton
Ningaloo Reef exists north of Perth in Western Australia and extending north for around 240 kilometres. It boasts a multitude of marine wildlife, including many endangered species. Ningaloo is a breeding ground for manta rays, sea turtles, humpback whales, dugong, sea birds, and more. There are over 200 coral species, 600 different molluscs, and around 500 species of fish, which rivals the splendour of the Great Barrier Reef.
This is a world heritage marine sanctuary.
Photo from BLUE Media: Manta rays swimming at the Ningaloo Reef
Everything is under threat from corporations wanting to use the reef for private gain. Communities have been fighting back. The local community has been fighting to stop inappropriate development for years. This is not stopping.
The latest threat comes from the intention of oil giant Woodside’s plan to use the reef as a dumping ground for a 2,529-tonne part of a contaminated oil and gas rig.
The presence of plastic and toxic waste will devastate species and create a wasteland. The local economy, significantly dependent on tourism, will also be hit through the damage to one of its greatest attractions.
Woodside runs rigs over much of the Australian coastline and conservationists fear that that success in dumping one, will open the door for Woodside to do the same with more of its worn out rigs. Over 100 of these structures are or will soon be abandoned.
An application is being made to application to Environment Minister Sussan Ley, for a permit to dump the toxic waste.
If woodside get away with this, a signal will be sent to other oil and gas companies to do the same.
Conservation groups are gearing up to stop it.
They aim to force companies like Woodside to properly clean up their mess. This will set up a very different kind of precedent. Rigs should be taken onto land, to be dismantled and pollutants disposed of properly.
One of the organisations fighting for Ningaloo is the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), is about to release the results of a study of the threat to Ningaloo. This details the lack of care taken by Woodside.
Beyond Woodside’s dumping attempt , there are moves for legislation to turn the area into an industrial site. Two key projects are an oil and gas pipeline and a salt making plant.
These other threatening projects must be stopped as well.