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Critical Evaluation of the State of Coral Reefs of the Philippines (Essay Sample)


The essay required a critical evaluation of the state of coral reefs of the Philippines.

Coral Reefs of the Philippines
The Philippine coral reefs have some of the world’s widest biodiversity, particularly in their marine ecosystem. They benefit the locals by offering good fishing grounds and exotic stones used as jewelry and building material. The government gets foreign exchange and revenue from the economic projects that take place in the Philippines coral reef, contributing over US$1 billion per annum (Coral Reefs In The Philippines "Slowly Dying" | Ecology and Environment). The coral reefs are estimated to be over 400 million years. However, the coral reefs are facing destruction because of poor practices such as pollution and sedimentation, damage from tourist related activities and overfishing.
State of the Philippine Coral Reefs
Over 50 percent of the Philippine coral reefs are facing destructive practices; therefore, the coral reefs have reduced to 29 percent in the new millennium. Only around 5 percent of the coral reefs meet acceptable standards (Doanld L Johnson). The decline has been brought about by human communities and climatic changes, particularly ocean warming.
The Effects of Human Populations
Coral reefs thrive in clear water; hence, introduction of unnecessary silt into the reefs and pollution leads to destruction of coral reefs. Pollution due to sewage waste released from the surrounding towns causes eutrophication. This kills the coral since the algae cut the sun rays reaching the coral; therefore, zooxanthellae fail to photosynthesize leading to the death of coral polyps (Doanld L Johnson). The natural control of algae by fish, which feed on the algae, has declined due to overfishing causing great detrimental effects. The fishermen also apply poor fishing practices such as the use of explosives or cyanide, which kills the coral polyps and destroy the reefs (Doanld L Johnson).
Warming of the ocean leads to coral destruction and sickening, particularly coral bleaching. Thus, algae die or leave the coral causing decline in the color of the coral. Coral bleaching leaves a white color to shine through the clear waters of the coral.

Figure 1: A fisherman using explosives to kill fish (Doanld L Johnson).

Figure 2: Coral bleaching (Doanld L Johnson).
The Effect of Typhoons on Coral Reefs
Super typhoons such as Ondoy, Pepeng and Milenyo cause damage to Philippines coral reefs (WWF-Philippines). The typhoons cause irregular geographical range, distribution and composition of the coral reefs. Most coral reefs along the Philippines have adapted by growing in tough, dense and condensed colonies. Super typhoons may lead to coral crush by introducing foreign objects such as rocks. They also lead to eutrophication from too much rain water draining into the coral reefs.

Figure 3: Coral Reef rubble caused by a strong typhoon (WWF-Philippines).
Conservation Organizations
The Reef Relief, Coral Reef Alliance and Planetary Coral Reef Foundation are some examples of groups that have been formed to conserve the coral reefs (Doanld L Johnson). These organizations aim at enhancing public awareness on the loss of coral reefs. They also lobby states such as the United States Congress to pass a ban o...
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