The beautiful beaches along Salcete’s coastline turned ugly on Monday afternoon as black, gooey, oily substance in the form of tar balls washed ashore in huge quantities, turning the beaches black and unusable.
Visitors were aghast to see the black substance being washed ashore and those who tried to investigate what it was, were punished by the black substance sticking to their feet. The phenomenon started at around 2 pm.
Sernabatim beach in Colva village panchayat was the worst affected as the black substance just kept on piling and at places turning into quite huge dumps. Although the phenomenon began in the afternoon, till late evening no official visited the site to check what was happening.
The entire coastal stretch from Benaulim to Arossim were engulfed with tar balls and some were also reported further north at Baina beach and even at Candolim beach close to the grounded River Princess.
Incidentally, for the last few years, soon after the monsoon fury abates, tar balls are found on Goan shores and this is attributed to the change in currents in the high seas which pushes the debris from the high seas to the nearest coast.
However, this year the frequency and quantity is overwhelming. In the month of May, tar balls were spotted in Canacona taluka’s Khola and Agonda beaches and also at Candolim beach in Bardez taluka. The scale of the tar balls washed ashore on Monday was never witnessed before in Goa.
Meanwhile, Tourism Minister Nilkanth Halarnkar has ordered immediate cleaning of the beaches by mobilizing whatever resources are available. “The beaches need to be cleaned immediately and there is no time to go in for tender and other formalities,” he said speaking to Goa Chronicle over the telephone.
Mr. Halarnkar also asserted that nobody could be held specifically responsible for this and referred to an order of the Bombay High Court which had concluded that this was due to pollution in the high seas.