"Zooxanthellae" - Raising Our Voices Before It's Too Late

Community Service Aug 27, 2018

As told by Rtr. Ruwini Gamarachchi

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Coral reefs represent some of the world’s most spectacular beauty spots. They are the foundation of marine life. Without them, many of the sea’s most exquisite species will not survive. Thus, we at Rotaract Club of University of Moratuwa initiated the project Zooxanthellae with the hope of conserving coral reefs.

As the very first step of the project Zooxanthellae, Rotaract Club of University of Moratuwa, along with the support of the Department of Earth Resource Engineering of the university and Siam City Cement (Lanka) Ltd, successfully conducted an extensive survey along the Unawatuna Coastline on the 29th of October 2016. The second survey was carried out in the coastline of Rumassala on the 20th of May 2017 with the intention of finding a location with the most suitable conditions for coral growth. Zooxanthellae is extremely grateful for the immense support rendered to us by Prof. Nalin Rathnayake, Sri Lanka Navy and Siam City Cement Lanka Ltd. in making this endeavour a success.

Growth is never by mere chance. Sometimes, it’s the result of forces working together. With the collective force of the many supporters of this novel initiative, Zooxanthellae took another massive step forward. Hence, for the first time in Sri Lanka, steel structures were constructed to lay down the base for the growth of corals with the aid of Siam City Cement (Lanka) Ltd. This inventive and substantive idea was the concept forwarded by Mr. Thomas Le Berre (Marine Biologist), who has guided our Rotaractors towards the success of this nature-friendly initiative.

Furthermore, the project “Green Beach” was conducted as another phase of Zooxanthellae. The main aim of this project was to conserve the beauty of the alluring sights of the beach through a beach clean-up while aligning with the 14th UN sustainability goal, “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development”. The project was held successfully on the 24th of December 2016 at Panadura Beach. Our dedicated members made sure to leave the beach spotless and sparkling. They also placed garbage cans along the beach, along with messages displaying the importance of keeping the environment clean.

To serve towards the best interests of the environment, it is important that every contributor is well informed of the prevailing situation. Hence, Zooxanthellae organized a workshop for Sri Lanka Navy divers to provide them with the technical knowledge and skills with regard to the placement of steel structures on the ocean bed to facilitate the growth of corals. The workshop was conducted by Mr. Thomas Le Barre, marine biologist, on the 18th of June 2018 at the Southern Navy Base.

Coral is a very beautiful and unusual animal. But it is predicted that in 2050 all coral reefs around the world will be in danger. We, Rotaract Mora perceived it is not too late at all and if we can change, we can change the world. Because ultimately, where the quality of life goes down for the environment, the quality of life goes down for humans. Let’s join hands to conserve the beauty of Mother Nature!

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Hiranya Panawenna

Enjoys reading, listening to music and watching movies. Friendly and loves to make new friends. Always ready to help people in need.

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