Current Affairs

HLC to study Goa Beach Pollution Woes

Reiterating that BJP Government at Centre and state were committed to “development without destruction”, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar today revealed that a high-level panel would assess reasons behind pollution in Goa coasts and formulate a redressal plan.

A high-level committee comprising representatives from “Coast Guard, Shipping Directorate, National Environment Engineering Research Institute, Pollution Control Board and Goa government will meet this month to assess reasons behind pollution on Goa beaches and prepare a roadmap for its redressal,” Javadekar said in the Rajya Sabha.

Replying to a Calling Attention on pollution on sea beaches in Goa, Environment and Forest Minister Javadekar said his government will also find out whether pollution specially through tar balls was created by an ulterior design as this has been deep-rooted belief among people.

Some members including Shantaram Naik (Cong) had expressed apprehensions whether this pollution was created at Goa beaches by countries which wanted to destroy tourism there.

“The government is committed to development without destruction and will proactively raise the sustainable development issue on international platforms,” Javadekar said adding the report of the high-level panel on Goa beaches will be placed before the House.

He said government was serious on protecting the ecology of its beaches and not only Goa, steps would be undertaken to ensure cleanliness at all beaches in the country.

“Coast Guards ships and aircrafts are regularly deployed for surveillance and monitoring of the maritime zones of India, including EEZ off the coast of Goa,” Javadekar said in a statement adding that the matter of tar ball deposition along beaches in Goa was being looked into by the High Court also which has directed the DG Shipping to examine the matter.

He said the High Court has also directed Goa State Pollution Control Board to monitor onshore facilities of Mormugao Port Trust, Indian Oil Corporation and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation.

He said provisions of International Maritime Organisation (IMO) which adopted the international convention for the prevention of pollution from ships, now known as MAR POL, are incorporated in the Merchant Shipping Act.

Earlier in his Calling Attention motion, Shantaram Naik (Cong) demanded a probe into the role of internationally- funded NGOs behind pollution in beaches saying recently some NGOs in South, mostly funded by foreign countries were found to be scuttling nuclear projects.

“Some of these NGOs are involved in anti-national activities,” he said.

He also demanded an action against passing vessels from Goa beaches which cleaned their vessels near shores and in the process released effluents and oil in the water turning the beaches black and unfit for tourists.

“Image of the beaches were tarnished among international tourists and Coast Guard, Navy and other agencies can look into the issue,” he said.

Nearly 2.5 million tourists visit the beach and a conspiracy angle should be probed, he suggested.

He said the magnitude of the problem was such that it needed immediate attention and 152 countries with 99 per cent tonnage were already signatory to MARPOL so India could deal with the matter effectively.

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