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Australia says Great Barrier Reef water quality on the mend

Published on Jun 12, 2014 12:18 PM
A handout photograph shows an island of the Great Barrier Reef in Whitsundays, Queensland, Australia, on Monday, on May 4, 2009. -- PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

SYDNEY (AFP) - Australia on Thursday said it was confident the Great Barrier Reef will avoid a World Heritage downgrade after a new report card showed pollutants entering the water had been significantly reduced.

UNESCO has warned that without action on water quality and rampant coastal development, the reef - covering an area roughly the size of Japan - would be declared "World Heritage in Danger".

Queensland state Environment Minister Andrew Powell said progress had been made as he released a government report card on action taken to improve water quality since 2009.

"I don't expect that will happen," he said of a potential UN downgrade. "We are likely to be successful ... because the facts speak to that. The reef is now on the pathway to long-term improvement."

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