Reefs are very diverse ecosystems. Coral reefs provide an enormous amount of chemicals for the pharmaceutical industry to treat diseases like cancer, say experts from the National Polytechnic Institute’s Center for Research and Advanced Studies (CINVESTAV).
They said reefs represent one percent of the ocean’s surface, but are home to about 1.3 million species on the planet, 25 percent of its diversity, and provide services to more than 500 million people who live near the coast and depend on fishing or tourism.
Tourism demand, coastal development of walking sites, overfishing, sport fishing in places like Alacranes, and pollution, as well as climate change, have caused changes in the ecosystem and everything it provides, without properly addressing the problems with the reefs.
The corals of the Mexican Caribbean belong to the second most important barrier reef, shared with Guatemala, Honduras and Belize. Experts explain that in addition to all the natural, chemical and economic benefits that reefs have, there is also the aesthetic and cultural resource.
Experts agree that awareness is key for people to understand the benefits of this system and restructure it to seek a balance between nature and development. Toothbrushes, plastic bags, straws and bottles discarded at sea are the main precursors of bacterial disease in coral reefs and putting the ecosystems at great risk.
The Yucatan Times
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