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Degradation Of Beaches

Take immediate steps to rejuvenate and restore their tourism appeal

A World Bank financed study of the coastline in the country has revealed that Goa’s beaches have highest amount of beach debris and plastic litter. The study conducted by the ministry of environment, forest and climate change with the assistance of the Society of Integrated Coastal Management has put beach debris at 205.75 g/m2. The lowest quantity of debris was on the Odisha coast at 0.31 g/m2. The report has been prepared after incorporating the comments and suggestions of the public and stakeholders. The samples collected during study along the Goan beaches included items that were domestic and anthropogenic discards including plastic litter, sachets of soft drinks, edible oils, detergents, beverages, toothpaste, cosmetics and PET bottles.

The study has revealed that beach litters are manmade objects discarded directly or indirectly. It has also brought out synoptic picture of status as well as composition of beach litter from 254 selected beaches along the maritime states of peninsular coast of India. The study has further found that 51 beaches in the country were very clean and located in Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal, while 122 other beaches were found to be clean in other parts of the country. The report also revealed that extremely littered beaches were found in the states of Karnataka, Goa, Gujarat, and Union Territory of Andaman Islands. The study was carried out as part of ENCORE project, which is aimed at strengthening integrated coastal zone management in all coastal states of the country, with improved capacity for decentralised coastal management, improved protection and pollution abatement in coastal areas, project management, monitoring, and evaluation. Goa also has highest values of 40.97 kg/head as per capita share of beach debris with reference to coastal population.

For long beaches in the state have been prime tourist attractions and still continue to be. The state has reaped in lot of moolah using beaches to attract tourists. However, the findings of the latest study should send the alarm bells ringing for the state authorities. If the degradation of the beaches continues, they would lose their charm not only for the tourists but also for locals, who visit them often. Now that the study has revealed the sorry status of the state beaches, it is for the state authorities to take immediate steps to arrest the decay that is setting on the state beaches and ensure that their infestation with debris is minimal. Though crores of rupees are being spent on beach cleaning year after year for a long time now, the latest study has revealed that their cleanliness was just an eyewash if not a farce. How else would the authorities explain the deplorable condition of the Goan beaches? Will the state authorities take action against the officers responsible for the awful state of state’s beaches?

Goa once boasted of pristine beaches which were a great attraction for all and served as the strongest pillar on which the edifice of tourism stands. The increase in number of footfalls led to them being littered with all sorts of debris, which increased year after year as the number of tourists visiting the state grew. That Goan beaches were being littered with debris has been known to the state authorities for a long time but very little has been done to contain the damage that was being done by the litter, especially by plastic items. They have announced a host of measures and armed themselves with all possible law to deal with the errant, but most of the rules enacted to deal with those violating them have hardly been implemented on the ground. With no deterrent action taken against violators, people have been frequently breaking the rules and contributing to the filth on the beaches. With the study revealing pathetic status of Goa’s beaches, the authorities should ensure that there is no further degradation of state’s beaches. The government should take steps to rejuvenate the beaches and restore their appeal for tourism businesses to benefit from tourism as well as for the government to earn revenue.

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