Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Dutch courage

The Dutch have a particular fondness of coral reefs. As generalisations go this may not be too absurd. (one historical root for this phenomenon may be the long Dutch involvement in SE Asia and the scientific curiousity that on occasions went with it)

WWF Netherlands has an large high membership relative to the country's relatively small population of some 15 million, and is active and well funded in marine work.

But the local sovereign authorities in the still formally Dutch territory of Antilles are not doing to well on protecting coral reefs for which they have direct responsibility, according to observers in Saint Maarten. One writes:
"The lagoon was pristine 30 years ago and is now littered with marinas, boat yards and other developments. Part of the lagoon now looks and smalls like open sewage...[Also] some companies simply dump their waste including paint and other chemicals into it. This lagoon of course runs straight into the ocean".
Some photos documenting the state of lagoon are here.

Ocean Care, a local environment group, is doing what it can. Last October it documented extensive bleaching in St Maarten Marine Park. This year it is looking at options such as a Biorock project.


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