It is everyone’s duty to keep the beaches clean

Stakeholders carrying out business on the beach front must keep the beach clean. Calangute MLA and Deputy Speaker of Goa Legislative Assembly, Michael Lobo said that the government should provide more powers to all departmental heads such as police inspectors, sub-inspectors, and Drishti personnel to challan people littering the beach by imposing a heavy fine. Lobo said that Drishti is doing a good job of cleaning the beach and the contract is renewed every month after the contract of Bhumika transport was terminated by the tourism department. He said that at present Calangute is free from garbage as the panchayat with the support of the government is doing a good job. Lobo said that more bins will be placed in the village for collection of wet and dry garbage.

Meanwhile, the Goa government has set a target of making the coastal state, visited by lakhs of tourists every year, garbage-free by 2020. The deadline was set at the first-ever meeting of Goa Waste Management Corporation (GWMC) which was chaired by Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar. The Corporation came out with a set of measures to ensure the state becomes garbage-free in the next three-and-a -half years. “The first step would be to ban the use of plastic bags below thickness of 40 microns. Those carrying or using plastic bags below 40 microns would be fined heavily. Later, a general ban will be imposed on carrying plastic bags of all kinds,” informed Michael Lobo, Director of GWMC after the meeting. The meeting discussed the issue of imposing stringent penalty on those found littering waste at public places, said Mr. Lobo. It was suggested that amendments needed to be done in existing Acts to give more teeth to enforcement authorities.

Mr. Lobo admitted that several initiatives taken in the past to make Goa garbage-free have not worked. “This time, implementing authorities will be held accountable for failing to curb littering.” Mr. Lobo said necessary infrastructure like dustbins, trucks and manpower for segregating garbage would be provided to the local panchayats. In a major decision, the Corporation decided to take over the cleaning of beaches from a private contractor, who had been accused of over-charging for the task. Mr. Lobo said the tourism department lacks the necessary infrastructure to clean beaches, the biggest attraction for travellers, and hence the Corporation will now shoulder the responsibility of keeping the shorelines clean.