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Clean Goa’s Rivers

Traditional fishermen in Agassaim are getting garbage instead of fish in their nets they cast near the shore of the Zuari. Can there be a more tell-tale story of pollution of rivers in the state? By technical standards most rivers in the state might not have been polluted beyond ‘permissible limits’. But that does not mean pollution has been decreasing. Pollution of the rivers has been increasing. Tiny Goa generates mountains of and lakes of garbage, but there is no effective management in place. For various reasons, we have miserably failed in garbage management. Where from the garbage that is gathered by fishermen’s nets at Mercurim, Dando and St Lawrence in Agassaim is coming? The South Goa district authorities and the Goa State Pollution Board must send an inspection team immediately to identify the source of the garbage as the livelihood of hundreds of fishermen depends on the availability of fish in the Zuari river. That is the immediate problem. However, the state authorities must pay closer attention to the long-term pollution issues of Goa’s rivers. The Ganga has attracted national attention, and there is now even a special ministry to deal with it. Why is there no such consciousness about the Mandovi, for instance, or Zuari or other rivers of Goa? We need to create awareness and make plans for elimination of the sources of pollution up and down stream. Economic compulsions cannot be allowed to override ecological concerns as far as rivers are concerned. They are sources of water for villages and towns, for irrigation and fishing, not to speak of their great worth as ways of navigation. They must be cleaned and protected.

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