As told by
Rtr. Rajitha Athukorala
The all time favourite cartoon character of the 90’s kids Sponge Bob Square Pants is based on the amazing world underneath the ocean. Although we enjoyed the humour brought to us by Sponge Bob and his adventures underneath the ocean, the life and colour of the real world under the ocean are gradually fading away. Sri Lanka being an island, is gifted with an amazing coastline that margins the serene country not only adds beauty but also plays an important role in the bio diversity and the economy of the country. When it comes to the marine life, coral reefs pump blood to run the total life system that roams under the blue waters.
Sadly, these vital establishments of nature that keep the whole marine life system running are under a lot of degradation and destruction. The real Sponge Bobs and Patricks that survive from the coral reefs are under the threat of extinction due to their loss of habitats and natural homes.
Rotaract Club of University of Moratuwa in collaboration with Siam City Cement (Lanka) Ltd took the initiative to reconstruct coral reefs present in the South coast of Sri Lanka under the project “Zooxanthellae” with the intention of enhancing the artificial growth of coral reefs in most suitable locations. A group of undergraduates headed by Prof. Nalin Rathnayake (Department of Earth Resources Engineering) took the first step in selecting a suitable location for this project. The team of nine members headed Down South on 29th October 2016 and carried out necessary inspections to identify a suitable site.
During the survey, three potential locations were examined for the suitability of coral growth and samples of sediments and water were taken for further analysis to ensure the maximum accuracy before selecting the project location. In this exercise, the guidance and the information offered by the Captain of the boat made the journey easier in identifying the potential sites. Further confirmation of the best location for the project will be finalized upon completion of the analysis of the samples taken and results will be known in the weeks to come.
Once the suitable location is finalized, the designing, manufacturing and installation of structures in the sea bed will take place. These structures will provide a base for the coral growth that will provide a safe haven for a wide range of marine habitants.