Govt. Initiates Cleaning But Lost at Sea over Disposal
The government swung into action on Tuesday to deal with the tar balls that were washed on Salcete beaches but it appears to be a mere knee jerk reaction without proper planning as the clean up process is being carried out in a haphazard manner.
Although Fire Services personnel and other labourers were pressed into service, they were not equipped with buckets or containers to gather the collected tar balls. The tar balls were swept and piled up along the beach.
But what was most shocking is the fact that there is no plan prepared for the disposal of the tar balls. The collected tar balls were seen dumped along the beach amidst vegetation that has sprouted due to the monsoon.
Judith Almeida of the Colva Civic and Consumer Forum complained that in some places, the workers dug pits on the beach and dumped the tar balls in them. She warned that this would truly damage the environment.
Besides, she also reported that a large number of small crabs that are seen scurrying along the beach were found dead at Betalbatim and Majorda.
Meanwhile, Environment Minister Aleixo Sequeira, Tourism Minister Nilkanth Halarnkar, Tourism Director Swapnil Naik, Joint Secretary (Environment) Michael D’Souza and officials of the Goa State Pollution Control Board visited Colva beach to take stock of the situation.
Mr. Halarnkar stated that he had directed his department to clear the beaches immediately and seek GSPCB’s help and advise to dispose them.
Mr. Sequeira while pointing out that this was a regular phenomenon for the last few years, disclosed that the government had roped in National Institute of Oceanography and other agencies to find out the cause and also work out solutions besides suggesting what can be done to prevent the repetition.
NIO, Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard have been asked to help identify the vessel, if any that may have discharged oil in the high sea. While the NIO and GSPCB will fingerprint the hydrocarbons in the tar balls in order to identify the vessel carrying that oil, the Indian Navy and Coast Guard has been roped in to identify all the vessels that passed through the Indian territorial waters as well as the exclusive economic zone.
Besides, NEERI has also been asked to study why this phenomenon occurs every year and how it can be prevented, revealed Mr. Sequeira and added that this work should start very shortly.
Meanwhile Rajya Sabha Member Shantaram Naik dashed off a letter to Union Minister for Environment and Forest Ramesh Jairam to send a team of experts to Goa to study this disaster.