In The Press
Marine life at Port City.
• Project turns to coral conservation and marine tourism
Port City Colombo is looking at investment opportunities through marine tourism with the growth of coral reefs along its 3.7 km-long artificial breakwater. While sharing more information about the coral reefs and their conservation efforts, Port City Colombo also emphasised their commitment to environmental preservation through the development of coastal and marine habitats.
According to Port City Colombo, the coral reef forms part of a wider reef conservation initiative aimed at addressing escalating environmental challenges. The project will also be establishing an artificial coral nursery that will focus on nurturing special species. A statement issued by Port City Colombo read that in addition to these initiatives, they have also repurposed 13 decommissioned vessels to form an underwater shipwreck museum, located at the canal bed between the breakwater and the beach. This serves as a thriving habitat for a wide variety of fish and marine life
Port City Colombo’s coral reef
Sharing information about the coral reef, environmental consultant W.A.D.D. Wijesooriya explained that the top level of the breakwater is 3-4 m, but that the depth is 18 m. “Corals grow here, and this is a natural process. For corals to grow, they need a good, conducive environment, which includes sunlight, good quality water, and proper oxygen.”
He shared that the rough surface and porosity of the breakwater material are conducive to the growth of corals. “It is in these conditions that coral reefs have grown and we hope to develop this going forward,” he said.
Wijesooriya explained that the project makes sure this environment is maintained and that the growth of corals is a biological indicator of this. However, a third-party entity also monitors the aquatic ecosystem to ensure Port City Colombo remains within the stipulated standards.
The environmental consultant went on to say that any discharge into the water surrounding Port City Colombo could harm the coral reef and conservation efforts and that Port City Colombo has no intention of doing this.
He shared that the system is built in a way that ensures sewage is pumped out of Port City Colombo and that no solid waste is released into the surrounding waters. “There is also a rainwater harvesting system. There are lots of sustainable elements in this property, so there is no chance of polluting this,” Wijesooriya said.
Fundamental to Sri Lanka’s recovery
Port City Colombo is planning on creating awareness about this new segment of marine tourism, and Port City Colombo Director – Investment, Promotions, and Marketing Radika Obeyesekere shared; “We have given birth to very significant coral and marine life along the Port City breakwater and we hope it will provide opportunities for research and development in that segment. It will provide opportunities to marine tourism and really open up new hospitality and tourism opportunities to Sri Lankans as well.”
Obeyesekere went on to explain that Port City Colombo would play a fundamental role as Sri Lanka embarks on its journey to recovery.
“Port City Colombo, as Sri Lanka’s largest foreign direct investment to date, is now making significant progress with the infrastructure development phase drawing to a close,” she said, adding that during a visit to the area, one can witness the main roadways, utilities, and central park facilities nearing completion.
“We hope to move to the commercialisation phase of the project by early next year. With key regulations and the legal framework in place, we hope to bring in significant interest from overseas in terms of investment and we are ready to go out into the market to bring in investment for key projects available within Port City,” Obeyesekere added.
Port City Colombo Regional Manager of Investment Promotions – Japan and South Korea Danushka Kodituwakku echoed these views, emphasising that all regulations and legal frameworks are being established.