Coral reefs attract millions of visitors, but uncontrolled tourism and coastal development have caused pollution and resulted in heavy damage to the reefs.

Too many irresponsible visitors damage or destroy corals by touching, walking or standing on them. Many tourists collect and/or buy corals, sponges, seashells or other reef animals as well as jewelry and sculptures made out of them. Excessive collecting decimates the reef species and throws reef ecosystems out of balance.

Hotels and resorts contribute to water pollution by not properly treating their sewage and wastewater, and many tourist boats crush coral while throwing their anchors onto reefs, or spill oil and gas into the sea.