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Pollution Threatens Great Barrier Reef

March 01, 2003|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Pollution from farming and other human activities threatens Australia's Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest living organism, according to an Australian government agency.

Fertilizer and pesticide use on sugar plantations, as well as land clearing for cattle grazing, has increased chemical and sediment runoffs, the agency said. Australia's productivity commission said the pollution could cause reduced growth of coral, an inability to recover from hazards such as cyclones, and unusually high growth rates for other organisms that overgrow coral.

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