You know that old saying, “Everyone talks about the weather but no one ever does anything about it”. Similarly, in Goa, everyone is talking about the growing garbage problem but no one seems to have any solution to it. From our neighborhoods to every available open space, to the once pristine beaches in our formerly fair state of Goa, you find all kinds of rubbish strewn everywhere. However, one young gentleman named Clinton Fernandes from Candolim has stepped up to form a local initiative called Team Up To Clean Up Goa and that’s just what they aim to do – clean Goa.
It’s Time To Team Up To Clean Up Goa
After speaking with Clinton to learn more, it was extremely refreshing and a real eyes and ears opener to hear how and why he started this entire venture.
He said that Goa has a major issue with managing waste and much as people want to look away and want it gone, that’s not going to make any of it disappear.
“After watching my son walk into broken glass on the beach, I decided I couldn’t sit tight anymore and wait for someone to clean up this state we’re in. So for the love of Goa, the nostalgia of what it was, and the responsibility I feel towards my son, I set out to make a change”, says Clinton.
We All Want A Clean Goa
And that’s definitely what he has set out to do. Armed with Photoshop and some catchy one-liners, he took to social media to find other folks that felt the same as him on this topic, albeit a sore one. On 27th August, his first Facebook and Instagram posts went up. He received replies and shout-outs almost immediately from friends and acquaintances that were and have been equally aggrieved about the situation. The posts soon went viral and the rest, as they say, is history. And this marked the start of “Team Up To Clean Up Goa“.
This newly formed community is open to one and all. The first two cleanup crews comprised of ordinary citizens that wanted to be a part of the change for Goa. As Clinton so rightly said, “likes on social media don’t change the world but actions do.”
The first group got together at Reis Magos, to clean up the small stretch of beach just off the road near the fort. 60 volunteers banded together to pick up as much of the litter on the beach as they could. They separated the plastics, paper, glass, metal, non-recyclable rubber & Styrofoam. They even found the carcass of a dead dog that had washed up from the sea and buried it. The Verem Village Panchayat provided a truck to ferry all the garbage bags to the waste management plant in Saligao.
A small video clip put together by one of the volunteers.
The second cleanup drive was organized at Caranzalem Beach in Panjim on 9th September. The same group got together to collect almost close to a 1000 kilograms of garbage from this rather long stretch of beach and the tree-line along the same. While they couldn’t finish the entire stretch, they did manage to accomplish more than most people attempting to do the same thing ever have. They were completely aghast to see the amount of broken bottles on the beach though.
Clinton cannot believe the irresponsibility of people though. He wonders why people can’t be more aware and sensitive to their surroundings. There may not be any bins around but it definitely doesn’t justify the way people litter the place with all kinds of garbage. Where has everyone’s civic sense gone that they can’t take back all their bottles and garbage and just dispose of it properly. You can’t toss it away into a lake, river or sea. It’s going to go somewhere and create a problem for someone. Why can’t we just have a clean Goa?
For now, all the garbage collected is being sent to the recycling center at Saligao. As things get more organized, Clinton would like everything to go into being upcycled and made into art as well as get recycled. Right now, he just wants all that stuff off the beaches.
The community is looking to get into every village in Goa and asks that each village forms a similar group with their hearts in the right place and solve this problem of horror that could just bury our beautiful state forever.
He ends with saying, “This is a shout out to every proud Goenkar to stand up for what you stand on, to step up and pick up your litter. This is our Goa and it’s our problem. It’s our responsibility and not someone else’s. Yes, sharing social media posts looks cool and all that but we need ground action. The solution is in our hands. We can keep pointing fingers at the authorities and blaming the tourists but I think we need to clean up our own act first.”
After all, a clean Goa is something we all want to see. Volunteering is at the heart of this venture and people need to care about their surroundings in order for this to be a success. Remember, every piece of garbage we remove will uncover something beautiful.
So lets back him up and do the same wherever we are and do the same to save Goa before it is lost forever. We’ve already lost so much of this beautiful state, let’s not lose anymore. Join Team Up To Clean Up Goa – A Local Initiative. Let’s leave our future generations a clean Goa, a place to be proud of.
If you want to be a part of the change for Goa, you can find Team Up To Clean Up Goa on Facebook at – http://www.facebook.com/teamuptocleanupgoa
Send them a message. They would definitely love to hear from you!