AttractionsThese iconic sites face the prospect of being downgraded from UNESCO's World Heritage list.

Jitters at World Heritage Sites

Venice could be potentially added to UNESCO's ‘World Heritage in Danger’ list.
Venice could be potentially added to UNESCO's ‘World Heritage in Danger’ list. Photo Credit: Getty Images/bluejayphoto

The Great Barrier Reef, Venice and Stonehenge are some of the world's most iconic sites are at risk of being added to UNESCO's ‘World Heritage in danger’ list.

A report has stated that the Australian government has not done enough to improve the sea water quality around the Great Barrier Reef, which was inscribed in 1981 for its "enormous scientific and intrinsic importance".

While Canberra has pumped in A$3 billion (US$2.2 billion) to improving the reef's health since 2017 after UNESCO raised its first ‘in-danger’ alert due to climate change, the ecosystem went through a spate of bleaching events in the five years since.

Venice is another potential addition on the endangered list, due to the continued sailing of large cruise ships through its delicate lagoon, despite a ban announced by the Italian government in March 2021.

However, ships are scheduled to sail within the lagoon until a new port outside the city centre is constructed.

The prehistoric Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England has also received the warning, should plans to build a tunnel under the site proceed as planned.

Campaigners say the new A303 road upgrade which includes a dual-carriageway tunnel to reroute traffic away, was unlawful since it disregarded the damage to a string of ancient sites and artefacts.

The final decision on the 'endangered listing' will be made by the World Heritage Committee, which is expected to hold a plenary session from 16-31 July.

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