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Red soil flow destroying blue coral

Date Posted: 1998-05-18

Rare blue coral is dying at alarming rate at Shiraho reef, off the coast of Ishigaki Island, according to a report by a group of divers who regularly inspect the reef which is officially declared as one of the World Heritage Sites.

The report say that the main cause of the damage is the flow of red soil from near-by construction and agricultural sites.

The group specifically criticized plans to construct a new airport in Ishigaki at Miyara. "If the airport construction proceeds at Miyara it will certainly cause more red soil pollution at Shiraho and damage the reef further," Yu Ikujima, the chairman of the Shiraho Reef Preservation Association said.

Ironically, the defenders of the reef won their first round when the prefecture officially abandoned their plans to construct the airport on a landfill next to the reef and partially on it. Now the officials call for the construction of the airport at Miyara where the plan faces fierce opposition by local farmers.

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