Unesco today condemned a decision to allow the dumping of dredging waste on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
The UN human rights organisation recommended the reef be included on World Heritage’s in-danger list.
The decision to allow three million cubic metres of waste to be disposed of in reef waters followed the Australian government’s backing of a major coal port expansion for India’s Adani Group on the reef coast.
Unesco “noted the decision with concern and regret.”
It said dumping had been approved “despite an indication that less-impacting disposal alternatives may exist” and asked Australia to prove dumping was the least-damaging option.
The body said “a business-as-usual approach to managing the property was not an option.”
World Wildlife Fund Australia spokesman Richard Leck warned that the government needed to act quickly.
“Unesco’s concern is shared by thousands of Australians and hundreds of leading scientists and we call on the federal government to ban dumping,” he said.