Hotter and more acidic water in Red Sea from climate change causing coral bleaching, threatening marine life
"If they disappear, we will all disappear with them," says Mohammed Abdelaziz, watching divers and swimmers from his boat. "They" are the corals of the Red Sea in Egypt that are dying in increasingly hot water.
"As long as the coral reefs are there, we have plenty of fish and therefore a lot of work," the Egyptian diving instructor explains to AFP in Sharm el-Sheikh, a tourist gem of the desert peninsula of Sinai.
These labyrinths of red, yellow or green corals — there are 209 kinds of them in Egypt alone — where myriads of brightly colored fish nestle, attract divers from all over the world.
But rising temperatures is threatening this.
From 2009 to 2018, 14 percent of the world's corals disappeared, the sixth Status of Corals of the World: 2020 Report stated.
And, warns the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), "two thirds are now seriously threatened."
"We can see the effects of global warming before our eyes," laments Islam Mohsen, 37, also a diving instructor. "We see the coral discoloring and turning quite white."
However, according to the UN, approximately one billion inhabitants of the planet eat or earn their living thanks to corals. And the estimated 6.7 billion others, too, would suffer the consequences of the death of coral reefs in the Red Sea and elsewhere.
Without coral, more than a quarter of marine life is threatened, as are the inhabitants of thousands of miles of coastline that the barrier reefs would no longer be there to protect from natural disasters.