A WWF reef campaigner says sugarcane farming is to blame for much of the pollution of the Great Barrier Reef.
A WWF reef campaigner says sugarcane farming is to blame for much of the pollution of the Great Barrier Reef.

Sugar farmers ‘major culprits’ in reef pollution

SUGARCANE farmers have been blamed for being the "major culprits" of farm pollution that has ended up on the reef.

"They are using frankly far too much fertiliser than what is required to grow the crops," WWF reef campaigner Louise Matthiesson said.

At a Great Barrier Reef lecture in Brisbane, she said excess fertiliser washed into rivers that flowed onto the reef.

"When you pump that much fertiliser onto the reef you get a hell of a lot of water pollution, it feeds the growth of crown of thorns outbreaks and algae that smothers coral."

The day before Ms Matthiesson addressed a room full of people at Queensland University of Technology, a scathing report was tabled in Queensland Parliament about the state's plan to tackle poor water quality in reef catchments.

READ MORE

Dredging, not dumping, should be main focus: scientist

Climate change is killing coral: reef scientist

WWF: Where is the funding for the Great Barrier Reef?

Galilee Basin could be one of world's highest emitters

In the water quality report, the Auditor-General found land management practice programs were not achieving the changes needed.

It also said recent relaxation of land clearing rules increased the risk of sediment runoff, working against the reef plan's goals.

"What the Auditor-General is saying is that it's not going to work if we just keep doing things the way we have been," Ms Matthiesson said.

"We need a radically different approach."

She said regulations and a pollution cap should be put in place.



'Ipswich's sweet side': Strawberry lovers get behind farmers

premium_icon 'Ipswich's sweet side': Strawberry lovers get behind farmers

Fruit sales and prices recover ahead of "Strawberry Sunday"

Mum is no longer the word on teen pregnancy

premium_icon Mum is no longer the word on teen pregnancy

Classes open for Ipswich teen mums

Third year in a row for Ipswich artist to win top award

premium_icon Third year in a row for Ipswich artist to win top award

The awards are Flying Arts Alliance's annual visual arts prize

Local Partners