How are coral reefs destroyed?

Endangered coral reefs

Coral reefs are living raw material stores for building materials, basic materials for medicine and food. Without them, not only would the income from tourism be lost. They also protect the coastal regions from soil erosion and storms. Humans hardly take this into account in their behavior: Large parts of the coral reefs have already been destroyed or seriously damaged.

Southeast Africa

The reefs off the southeast coast of Africa are relatively small with only 200 square kilometers, but densely populated with different types of coral.

The greatest danger here is from waste and, in some cases, poisonous sewage, which is discharged directly and untreated into the sea. Some of these substances are poisonous and cloud the water. The sunlight, which is vital for the corals, no longer reaches the deeper coral colonies.

Another problem is mass tourism. In addition to the additional waste generated by the tourism industry, the reefs are damaged by vacationer diving. The reef is particularly threatened in places that are just below the surface of the water and accessible to snorkelers.


The reefs in the region around the Philippines are around 22,000 square kilometers. They are among the most biodiverse reefs in the world.

The dynamite and poison fishing is the greatest danger for the reefs here: The blasting devastates the coral massif, the poison not only kills the fish, but also the polyps of the corals and other reef inhabitants.

North Indian Ocean

The approximately 10,000 square kilometers of coral reefs in this region are threatened by the consequences of global warming. In parts of the reefs, up to 90 percent of the corals have already died.

South Japan, Taiwan, South China

Land reclamation along the coastal strips and an overpopulation of the coral-eating starfish "Crown of Thorns" are the greatest threats to corals in this region.

Similar to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the starfish epidemic appears at irregular intervals without a reason for it being found so far.

The corals that live on a total of 3000 square meters in the Japanese-Chinese region are also threatened by global warming.