GOA CANNOT CONTINUE AS A GARBAGE RIDDEN STATE

Over the years successive governments have miserably abdicated in their bounden duty to address the issue of garbage disposal. Now people have been dumping their waste all over even throwing it brazenly in our rivers and lakes. The gravity of the situation has been highlighted by our High Court which has necessitated the creation of the Ministry for Waste Management which is headed by Calangute MLA Michael Lobo.

The flow of high-end tourists into Goa has been adversely affected on account of our towns, villages and even the beaches being inundated with garbage all over. Over the last few years the Tourism department has spent crores on so called beach cleaning but what has been done is only emptying of the State coffers.  Even the Lokayukta after a detailed investigation has found that the beach cleaning contract given by the Tourism Department was a fraud. The Tourism department also does not have the mechanism and expertise to ensure the cleanliness of the Goan beaches.As we now have a Waste Management Corporation,it is imperative that all garbage related issues including the cleaning of our messy beaches must come within the ambit and control of this Corporation.

Goa also needs three or four more garbage disposal plants to ensure proper handling of garbage across the State. There have been problems at the Saligao garbage treatment plant as it was overloaded beyond its capacity and this cannot be allowed.The Government had acquired land at Bainguinim for the setting up of a garbage treatment plant and it did not materialise as there was objection from the public. I myself was once strongly opposed to it, but now the setting up of that plant is the need of the hour and inevitable before the garbage issue further escalates beyond redemption.

Effective Garbage Disposal needs a complete and total solution looking at every aspect,including the type of Garbage, collection of Garbage and the Disposal and re-cycling of Garbage not just tinkering at the edges or on cosmetic changes like bogus beach cleaning. Conventional and Modern methods of Garbage Collection and Disposal must be studied and employed. Furthermore, it needs a program of education with clearly laid down procedures for the people.There must also be effective honest policing of the guidelines coupled with punitive action for persistent wrongdoers. All this necessitates a sizeable investment from Government which must be fully utilized for the purpose intended and an investment worth making.

Goa has seen reckless construction all over. A vivid example is the water parched Kadamba Plateau which has seen unplanned development with thousands of flats having mushroomed without the basic infrastructure in place.

In view of the chaotic state of affairs all over the state, there is need for the High Court to impose a total embargo of at least five years on any further construction until we have the basic amenities of water, power supply, sewerage, good roads and more importantly a robust garbage disposal system in place.  This may bring some sanity to our now devastated Goa.

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