Govt to identify and notify 70 wetlands by March 2021

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Panaji: Environment Minister Nilesh Cabral on Wednesday said  the state  government will identify and notify 70 wetlands in the state by March 2021.

Addressing  media persons, Cabral said that five water bodies –  two at Benaulim and one each at Shiroda, Orlim and Macazana – will be notified as wetlands on priority.

“The National Green Tribunal has said that there are 265 wetlands in Goa. But they   conducted only ‘ocular surveys’ for identifying the wetlands.  Hence the National

Institute of Oceanography has been roped in by the  government to  ‘physically’ identify the wetlands,” he disclosed.

Once the water bodies are identified, public consultations will be held  to define the wetlands and notify them, the minister said.

Two committees have been formed for the purpose – a grievance committee led by  former High Court judge Desmond D’Costa and a technical committee led by  former forest official Richard D’Souza.

Cabral said that  he has written to  Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on August 5 about the tar balls washing ashore  Goan beaches due to the oil spillage, which has been  attributed to tanker movement off the Mumbai coast.

“We have urged the Union government to take measures to stop the menace of tar balls on Goan seashores,” he said, adding  that Bondvol Lake at St Cruz has recently been notified by the government as the wetland.