Prevention is better than floods

As Kerala struggles to stay afloat in the worst flood to hit the state in a century, noted ecologist Madhav Gadgil has warned that Goa could face the same fate as Kerala if the environment is not protected. Like other states, Goa too is witnessing a rise in profit-driven activities. NT KURIOCITY spoke to the Goan youth to know their opinion on the matter

Environmental acts and laws should be followed much more strictly than before by the respective officials. Areas facing any environmental loss should be recovered by reforestation. Initiatives should be taken for the conservation of the environment from further degradation by every individual. Since the increase and decrease in precipitation patterns in different regions is a result of increasing temperatures due to global warming an initiative should be taken to control the emission of greenhouse gases in Goa. Illegal profit driven activities especially those causing harm to the environment should not be allowed. Activities which cause environmental degradation should be carried out in an eco-friendly manner. Goans must switch to eco-friendly gadgets and vehicles, use solar energy, wind energy in windy areas, biogas and energy that can be generated on the streets caused by moving vehicles for streetlights on roads, etc. There is a need for programmes to be conducted on sensitising Goans on threats on their future, precautions to be taken and the importance of Gadgil’s warning.

Leontia Fernandes, Carmel College of Arts, Science and Commerce, Nuvem

Warnings are always to be taken seriously, because only then can we think of precautions. As far as any natural calamity such as floods is concerned, let me list out all the wrongs that we do that collectively disturb the environment and in turn us. For instance: littering the surroundings, overuse of plastic, dumping of garbage in water bodies, deforestation, over mining, construction to the extent of blocking the normal flow of water bodies, etc. I believe that it all depends on each individual’s thinking. For example: When I go out with a garbage bag and it strikes me that the unsafe disposal of that particular bag will negatively affect me, my locality, and my state and in turn my country, it will automatically induce a sense of responsibility in me. Goa must look for long-term profitable activities so as to safely avoid any natural calamity and if at all it strikes, we must be capable of successfully fighting it.

Nidhi Singbal, Agnel Institute of Technology and Design, Assagao

Goa should definitely take serious environmental precautions as early as possible. Each and everyone should try their best to do their bit. A little effort is bound to go a long way. It’s responsibility of the people to collectively preserve the environment. Thus, it’s time to make efforts, it’s time to take care, and it’s time to tend to the earth on which we all live.

Maithili Kamat Shankhwalker, KLE’s JN Medical College, Belgavi

Most of the natural calamities are unpredictable and partially uncontrollable too. One cannot blame only profit-driven activities for it. High population density and overloading of resources increase health hazards and disasters, the loss of life and property. We must not stop profit-driven activities based on near future disaster predictions. Instead, better management and controlled supervision is mandatory as profit-driven activities are the source of income.

Mohit Pandey, professor, Goa Medical College, Bambolim

Gadgil’s warning may scare certain people who have been noticing other climate change and environmental issues, but the rest people will be ignorant until the calamity actually happens. I would say that whoever takes the warning seriously must start hoarding food and medicines. I will also start finding what can be done in case a flood approaches Goa.

Vardhana Navelkar, Agnel Institute of Technology and Design, Assagao

Goa being one of the states in the coastal belts, nestled in the Western Ghats is prone to conditions like Kerala. Every warning should be taken rather seriously, for the topographies of both states are quite similar. Every passing month, more natural terrain is converted to buildings, and much of this is by the riverbed. As individuals, we can take small steps like protecting our water sources by decreasing plastic usage and disposing plastic in the right bins. Every resident of Goa should take up the initiative of investing in the environment too. It doesn’t take much, just a change of attitude.

Anusha Naik, Goa College of Pharmacy, Panaji

The disaster in Kerala was partly manmade, there’s no denying that. It was the greed of politicians for rampant illegal mining and hill cutting which caused the horrific flooding in Kerala, and not just the heavy rains. The conditions in Kerala and Goa are similar, especially the topography, and so Goa needs to be careful. The best way to avoid floods and other dangerous conditions is by not being in danger in the first place. Hence having information about the weather is important. It is best to be indoors and be away from areas you know are prone to flooding. Every family should have a disaster supply kit which includes basic necessities like stock of food, water, medicines, flashlights, etc. It is also important to stay away from power lines and electrical wires as electrocution might occur. Also be alert for gas leaks. There are environmental laws for a reason; it’s for everyone’s betterment. These are the immediate precautions an individual can take. It’s already too late. But henceforth maybe companies should provide correct information in their Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and the public should find out about the environmental damage government projects could do.

Alina Naik Desai, Parvatibai Chowgule College of Arts and Science, Margao

Ecologist Gadgil predicted the flood disaster in 2011 in underlying areas of Kerala. His prediction turned out to be true as we can see the current conditions in Kerala. According to me and considering the ecologist’s alert about the environmental condition of Goa there are chances that even Goa will face such a disaster as it doesn’t have Western Ghats as high as Kerala. To prevent such natural calamities we can make sure that we take proper environmental precautions such as improving flood warning mechanisms, creating flood plains and overflow areas for rivers, keeping the sewer systems clean, installing water infiltration and attenuation system, and installing check valves in sewer traps to prevent floodwater from backing up into homes. We can take various safety precautions like water quality, food safety and personal hygiene, be aware of flash flood areas such as canals, streams, drainage channels and be ready to evacuate. So let’s take measures to prevent calamities.

Sharada Hiremath, Agnel Institute of Technology and Design, Assagao

Goa has flouted every environmental law in the book – the CRZ, mangroves, sand dunes, mining, etc. A blind eye has been turned to safety and environmental degradation has been reduced to just textbook terms. The damage needs to be undone. I think dwellings shouldn’t come up near the shore; scientific cutting of hillsides can avoid landslides and construction should be banned in ecologically fragile areas. The floods in Kerala are a testimony of Gadgil’s warning for Goa.

Desiree Dsouza, Goa University

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