Garbage is seen everywhere on the beaches and this has led to a drop in number of foreign tourists coming to Goa, said Calangute MLA Michael Lobo, adding, the tourism department has been unable to handle the garbage problem due to lack of expertise.
He said the Solid Waste Management Corporation was formed to keep the beaches of Goa clean, while previously when the corporation was not in existence the tourism department used to release tenders for beach cleaning contracts.
“I will apprise the tourism minister about the garbage issue as the tourism department does not have the expertise to handle garbage. It has to be handed over to the Solid Waste Management Corporation,” he stated.
Ever since the beach cleaning contract has expired, the Calangute beach is seen littered with plastic bottles, beer glass bottles. Since Monday the garbage workers have not taken up cleaning of the beach stretch from Baga to Sinquerim and when this reporter went around, it was noticed that Calangute beach was the dirtiest.
Shack owners told this daily that since the garbage clearance has come to a halt, every shack owner now clears up garbage around their shacks.
“Since we lay beach beds in front of the shacks, we have to keep the area clean and, hence, we ourselves have been clearing the strewn garbage,” said a shack operator, adding, due to MLA’s request, the previous contractor has been lifting garbage from shacks, but open spaces “we have to manage.”
Another shack operator John Lobo said that there are a lot of beer bottles being thrown around by tourists who come late in the night and in the morning “our workers collect these bottles.”
A garbage worker, speaking to this daily, said that there were 50 workers working for the previous contractor, however, for the last 3 days “we have been told not to collect garbage as a new contractor was to be appointed.” “Our vehicle collects garbage only from shacks,” he said.
A Drishti lifeguard, when asked, said that the weekend has started and, hence, there will be more beer bottles strewn around on the beach. “When we go on our rounds, it becomes very difficult to walk on the sand because bottles are found thrown everywhere.”
Sarpanch of Candolim Blaize Fernandes and acting sarpanch of Calangute Sudesh Mayenkar, when contacted on the garbage issue, they said that “if we get permission, we will take up cleaning of the beaches as done in the past. The government should provide us funds and we will be able to do a better job.”
Lobo, speaking to this daily, said that if the tourism department cannot handle the garbage problem on the beaches then the Solid Waste Management Corporation can intervene.
“Beaches being tourism property, they have to be kept clean. If the tourism department writes to the corporation, it can take up cleaning of beaches all over Goa. Also more garbage treatment plants need to be set up,” he said
“We need to be serious on the garbage issue as Goa is a tourist destination. Chief minister is the chairperson of the Solid Waste Management Corporation. I have conveyed my message to the OSD to inform the CM in this regard,” Lobo said.
“We cannot afford to lose tourists. At present, there is a decline in the number of international tourists coming to Goa; we need to provide a cleaner Goa for visitors,” he added.
Source:: The Navhind Times