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Goa beaches face 'tar balls' nuisance, Shipping Ministry told

IANS | May 16, 2022 05:53 PM

PANAJI: Many beaches in Goa are facing tar ball issue, which is being washed on the shore during this ongoing tourism season. Goa government has told Union Shipping Ministry to take action.

The stakeholders from the Tourism area blame authorities and Bombay high, ONGC, responsible for spilling oil in the high seas, which results in the tar balls. However, the government says it doesn't have conclusive evidence against ONGC.

Tourism Minister Rohan Khaunte, speaking to IANS, said that he has already informed about the spillage of oil and tarball phenomenon to Ministry of Shipping.

"This spillage doesn't take place directly from Goa or ships. Various departments are working together to keep check and to have control on it. The Pollution Control board has been given a mandate to act on such things to support the model of tourism, " Khaunte said.

"Tourism has issues with such spillage and tar balls. But it is the role of the Pollution Control Board to act, " he said.

Cruz Cardozo, President of All Goa Shack Owners Welfare Association, said that Coastal Regulation Zone, Environment department, Pollution Control Board, Captain of Ports and Navy should monitor this.

"Most importantly, the authority should check with ONGC. The oil spillage must be taking place from there itself. Our beaches are getting spoiled due to these tar balls and we are suffering, " he said,

"Had the authority taken action all these years, then our beaches would not have faced this phenomenon every year which is ruining our tourism, " he said.

Goa State Pollution Control Board chairman Mahesh Patil said that they are taking every effort to ensure the beaches of Goa remain clean.

"This has become an annual phenomenon for the last eight years or more. NIO was given a project to conduct study. They (spillage-tar balls) don't generate here, but likely at Bombay high. Under currents during monsoon wash them to shore. They are seen from Karwar to Mangaluru, however as Goa is famous for beaches and tourists visit here they come to notice, " Patil said.

"Maintenance of boats (in the sea) may also be one of the reasons. But it is the responsibility of the Coast Guard to keep check, last month during the international Coast guard conference everything was deliberated to them. They are monitoring continuously. They have a system in place, " Patil said.

"As per the NIO report, there are possibilities it generates from Bombay high, but we don't have conclusive evidence, " he said.

Responding to the question about where the tar balls are disposed of, Patil said that in future, they will be disposed of at the hazardous waste treatment plant at Pissurlem (in North Goa), which will be commissioned soon.

Stakeholders blame the government over no proper system in the past for disposal.

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