By: Summer Livengood
In Key West, the coral reefs here are gorgeous, and the fish are beautiful. Due to the high pollution levels and changes in the temperature, there have been sightings of bleach-white coral and dead discolored fish. In Cuba, thousands of fish washed up and further inspection revealed they came from the Florida Keys. In the coral, thousands of heads were found completely bleached whiter than snow, which hurts lots of small businesses in Key West as they rely on tourists for profit.
The tourists come down and pay small businesses to take them out on the boat to go look at colorful coral. Tourists would come down all the time, but coral started browning, and the reefs lost color. They started seeing the fish get sicker and see white spots start to form on the coral. The coral would start to break down and it would be super easy to break.
There are around 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean and millions of fish have died due to plastic intake. The plastic wraps around the root of the coral and it would kill the coral and turn it white also killing the fish. The fish would eat and choke on the plastic, thinking it to be a jellyfish or a small microorganism.
To help stop the coral bleaching and the fish decrease, make sure to recycle and pick up your trash, wear sunscreen without zinc, and make sure to keep clean. If we make the changes, the Florida Keys reefs should be healthier and more colorful. Come take part in a clean-up before it’s too late and we don’t have any more beaches.