Following the urbanization footsteps of other states like Mumbai, Bangalore and Pune, today Goa’s priorities are industrialization and tourism. This does not consider the environment which has nurtured and fulfilled our ancestors needs. Classic examples include open-cast mining seen in various parts of Goa, the filthy Campal Creek that runs throughout the capital city, Panjim and the offshore Casinos that dump large amounts of toxic waste into the vital rivers of Goa.
Ecosystem took a beating
Campal Creek: Popularly known as the St. Inez creek, a year ago it was the most polluted watershed in Goa, as waste was dumped from both private and commercial establishments. It became choked with plastic, raw sewage and decaying food. To think just 10-20 years ago this pivotal creek supported life, however the pollution destroyed the ecosystem.
Mining Industry: Open-cast mines have been operational in Goa’s talukas for years. Due to this many family run farms have been destroyed on an annual basis. Agriculture has also been affected in numerous ways. Besides loss of livelihood, Goans have also suffered from the adverse effects of air, noise and water pollution. The mining has also affected the Selaulim Dam on the Selaulim River in Sangeum taluka, which supplies drinking water to half the state’s population, besides providing water for irrigation and to industries.
Casinos: According to this 2010 report offshore casinos and cruise vessels dumped raw sewage into the Mandovi River that runs alongside the state capital, causing immense water pollution and destroying Goa’s water bodies and the species of fish and mammals in the locality.
The recovery process
Campal Creek: After years of protest and urging the government to take action to save this pivotal creek, the state government recently invested in a boat, which had been fitted with a weed-removal mechanism. The locals are hopeful that the creek will soon become a habitat for fresh water fish and other mammals.
Mining Ban: It was very unfortunate to see a large number of families severely affected by the government’s decision on banning mining in Goa in 2012. Goa’s ecosystem now has the opportunity to heal from the deep scars of open-cast mining that took place all over the state. According to this article, in 2015 a forest survey of India report, stated that Goa has witnessed an increase of 5 square kilometers in forest cover, out of which 4 square kilometres have increased in Mangroves.
Casino lofty fine: In 2013, National Green Tribunal (NGT) of Supreme Court restrained all the offshore casinos from throwing any material into the River Mandovi. The offshore casino industry also expressed similar views stating that the offshore casinos industry will follow rules as far as garbage dumping was concerned.
To conclude, the Goa government may have made mistakes along the way, however it has taken measures to save the environment and are now keeping in mind development in a sustainable manner. Despite having negative aspects, Goa thrives on tourism and casinos which contribute to the economy in the state. They also provide much needed employment for Goans.
I am very much hopeful that we move towards sustainable development where in the environment is impacted on a minimum scale.