In what can only be viewed as a shocking move, the Australian government has agreed to allow the dumping of one million tonnes of sludge waste onto the Great Barrier Reef.

There are strict laws in place to protect one of the seven natural wonders of the world, however, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) have given the go-ahead, the BBC reported.

Loop-Hole in the law allows for dumping

The waste sludge will come from industrial sites at Hay Point Port, after being dredged from the local area in the state of Queensland.

As you can imagine Australia has a wide-ranging set of laws in place to protect the biodiverse coral reefs of its east coast. Nevertheless, the port authorities have managed to find a loophole, whereby these laws don't apply to materials created from port maintenance work.

This has meant that the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) has had to allow the dumping of the waste. The North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation, which looks after Hay Point, has moved to reassure the public and environmental groups by stating that dumping the sludge will have a minor environmental impact.

However, scientists seem to be in agreement that this is most likely not going to be the case. Many people in the marine conservation community have already come out and stated that this will have a detrimental and lasting impact on the coral Environment and the many species of coral and fish that inhabit it.

The dumping of the sludge will blanket over the coral, limiting its exposure to light and algae of which it needs to feed and grow.

Nevertheless, there is some hope as scientists believe that the negative impacts from the dumping could be reduced if the sludge is dumped in deep water. If the waste is released into shallow water the impacts are predicted to be catastrophic.

Threats to Barrier Reef health build up

This news comes as a great detriment to the Great Barrier Reef after just having suffered another environmental disaster when floods in the country last week caused dirty water to run into the reef.

This led to the reef experiencing further stress with run-off from one river having blanketed some reef areas more than 60km (37 miles) from shore.

The Great Barrier Reef has already lost over 30 per cent of its living reef as a result of climate change and global warming leading to coral bleaching and eventual death.

Last year, the Australian government pledged £275m towards saving the reef, with it already having a restoration and protection policy in place. However, this recent news will have surely put a dent in the goal to save the natural wonder.