"The ecosystems of the Red Sea are some of the most resilient on the planet, remaining pristine and unaffected by global warming, and providing hope for threatened reefs elsewhere," said Professor Carlos Duarte, Tarek Ahmed Juffali Research Chair in Red Sea Ecology at KAUST.
"I have no doubt that the lessons we learn from the application of technology to sustainable development here will be used in the future to benefit fragile ecosystems around the world," Professor Carlos Duarte said.
The Red Sea Project, one of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030's project development initiatives, will deliver a unique luxury tourism experience of unparalleled diversity, while enhancing the destination's extraordinary natural wonders. The Project will be created around several unique and diverse treasures: an archipelago of more than 90 islands surrounded by thriving coral reefs; dramatic desert canyons and dormant volcanoes; and heritage sites.
TRSDC, the master developer of the project, has committed to putting sustainability at the heart of every decision it makes and to set new standards in sustainable development. The company has already undertaken more than 30 ecological studies throughout the design and development phase to ensure all plans actively enhance the local environment. The partnership with KAUST, the world's foremost authority on Red Sea ecosystems, has been established from the early days of the project to help TRSDC deliver against this ambition.
TRSDC also aspires to implement a range of policies including zero waste-to-landfill, zero discharge-to-sea and a total ban on single use plastics. The destination is master-planned to rely 100 percent on renewable energy and to be completely carbon-neutral once operations commence.
Landscaping projects will emphasize natural flora adapted to the climate and local environment, such as mangroves which grow in sea water, as well as methods to enhance water reuse while minimizing desalination and brine discharge.
According to WWF Global, coral reefs are home to 25% of all marine life and form the nurseries for about a quarter of the ocean's fish; yet approximately one-quarter of coral reefs worldwide are already considered damaged beyond repair, with another two-thirds under serious threat. Consequently, the investment planned by TRSDC into current and future protection of coral reefs is crucial.
"Our commitment is clear," said John Pagano. "We will partner with the best local and global organizations to ensure our development is guided by credible research and environmental institutions, allowing us to deliver an unparalleled luxury experience without compromising the natural environment. That's why we are proud to work with the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology to not only protect, but also enhance this precious ecosystem."
Source: Saudi Press Agency