The Foundation of Goodness (FoG) recently signed an MOU with Tokyo Cement Group to extend the company’s Coral Conservation project in the Southern Coast. The longstanding affiliation between Tokyo Cement and the Foundation of Goodness (FOG) saw the charitable foundation enlisting their diving and training arm: ‘Dive Lanka, Dive Seenigama’, to play an active role in preserving the world-famous coral reefs along Seenagama and Hikkaduwa beaches. With this MOU, the Foundation of Goodness joins in the ranks of the Sri Lanka Navy, Wildlife Research and Conservation Trust (WRCT) and the Blue Resources Trust (BRT) to champion Tokyo Cement Group’s cause on Coral Reef Conservation.
Tokyo Cement Group is deeply involved in coral reef conservation for nearly a decade, making it one of their keystone environmental sustainability initiatives. The Cement Giant formed a consortium of partners to share expertise to restore the severely threatened Coral Reef barrier along the Sri Lankan shoreline. These like-minded environmentalist organizations each bring in a complementing set of knowledge and experience to provide a holistic and sustainable solution to curb the depletion of corals.
The team works with international and local volunteers and university student groups to replant and to subsequently monitor the growth and expansion of coral reefs. Tokyo Cement funds the research in addition to supplying scientific equipment and training required to conduct underwater monitoring of coral growth. One of the foundations of the initiative is to include scientific research to understand the causes and effects on reef generation and reef resilience in aid of long-term conservation efforts.
The Company recycles concrete samples discarded after quality testing, to make custom-designed Reef Ball structures that are deployed on coasts where the coral barrier is severely damaged. Reef Balls act as substrate for new corals to grow on and fish to propagate, creating a natural extension of the marine habitat. Sri Lanka Navy plays a vital role in deploying these Reef Balls, along Trincomalee, Jaffna, Kalpitiya and Galle, in specific areas carefully identified by the scientific partners BRT and WRCT to replenish and maintain our natural coral diversity. Each site maintains a coral nursery where new coral nubbins are nurtured under controlled conditions, until they are planted on reef balls that gets deployed.
From now on, Dive Seenigama, Dive Lanka will join the programme by providing local diving expertise for reef-ball deployment and coral planting. The research and coral propagation program will be carried out under the supervision of marine biologists attached to BRT and WRCT. Once FoG divers are trained on Coral aftercare and monitoring, they will extend the reach and, as a result, the impact of Tokyo Cement’s Coral Reef Conservation project to the Southern Coast of Sri Lanka.
The FoG Dive Lanka diving and training center was opened in August 2008 with the objective of providing professional diving training for rural youth. It currently attracts both local and foreign tourists who come to experience the unique biodiversity of Seenigama and Hikkaduwa coral reefs. As first-hand witnesses of the Tsunami devastation, youth in Seenigama are passionate about protecting the reef barrier that not only saved their lives back then, but also supports their livelihood at present. This project provides the youth of Dive Seenigama, Dive Lanka an opportunity to play an active role in protecting their life-saving coral reef, with necessary skills and knowledge to ensure its sustainable conservation.
Tokyo Cement’s affiliation with the Foundation of Goodness goes back nearly five years, where they partnered to uplift rural school cricket. Foundation of Goodness is a charity actively involved in rural development, through at its 10 Village Heartbeat Empowerment Centers and Project Headquarters in Seenigama, deploying over 30 empowerment programmes conducted free of cost, touching the lives of over 28,000 beneficiaries annually, from over 300 villages island-wide.
Coral Reef Conservation is among the many sustainability initiatives Tokyo Cement Group has undertaken. They include a mangroves reforestation program, where the company collaborates, again, with the Sri Lanka Navy to replant mangrove saplings along the Eastern coastline of Sri Lanka. The company’s commitment to social responsibility breathes life through initiatives such as this, by which they successfully integrate social welfare and environmental conservation into its corporate DNA as part of their continuous mission to enrich the country, its people and the environment.
Pic 1 : Mr. S.R. Gnanam, Managing Director – Tokyo Cement Company (Lanka) PLC and Mr. Kushil Gunasekera, Founder/Chief Trustee – Foundation of Goodness, flanked by representatives of the two organizations at the MOU signing event.
Pic 2 : FoG divers from Dive Seenigama, at a knowledge sharing session conducted by Blue Resources and the Wildlife Research and Conservation Trust.
Pic 3 / Pic 4 : FoG divers being trained by the research partners to set up underwater Coral Nurseries.