Ever since the plans of the coal mining in Goa there has been continual protest by the people of Goa. The nature of the protests stems from concern over the destruction of the environment and the contamination due to coal in the water, air etc.
In a recent event, Goa Foundation Director, Claude Alvares, posted a video where he claimed to have found coal washed up on the shore of Keri beach. He blames that the coal washing up was “only because the loading and unloading operations at MPT are still very primitive.” However, locals in Keri claim that the coal that washed up was from a funeral conducted on Saturday and not the MPT (Mormugao Port Trust).
After a video posted by environmentalist Claude Alvares holding coal he found at a beach, inspection was carried out by the State Pollution Control Board who reported no findings of coal.
Meanwhile, in Benaulim traditional fishermen claimed coal was washed ashore on the beach on Monday after which the Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) descended to collect samples for inspection on Wednesday. However, the team reported that they couldn’t find any traces of coal on the beach. They even spoke to a local fisherman, Pele Fernandes, about details about the coal deposit on the shore.
“Initially, I believed that the substance could be tar balls, but upon inspection, I found that the waste resembled coal which had washed ashore during high tide. The coal was washed ashore around sunset. It was scattered at a distance of 15 meters. It must’ve washed back in the sea during the low tide,” he said. He added that tourists noticed the substance and brought it to his notice asking if he knew what it was.
The two member team collected samples of water and sand and left after which Pele made a plea to the government and officials to stop coal and its transportation.
In 2019, a study showed coal particles contaminating Mandovi River, which was found in oysters too. Traces of mercy, within and below permissible limits, from coal particles were in the Mandovi and the edible oysters that were harvested from the river.
The sources of this coal could be from the Mormugao port, given the levels of mercury in the coal at the port and the sediment particles found in the river were similar, but the researchers insisted that further studies were needed before conclusions concerning the source can be drawn.
The total quantity of coal handling has been capped by the Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) at around 5 million metric tons per year from the earlier 12million metric tons per year.
With the upcoming projects in Goa a lot of concern continues to rise up about the damage to the land and the people. CM Pamod Sawant in his recent talk mentioned that he can’t close don this 40 year old industry overnight but promises to reduce its work to half of its present. These new upcoming claims of coal washing up on the shores are definitely not making the people feel better, even if reports suggest otherwise about the substances.
The effects of beaches getting contaminated will affect the tourism industry for sure, apart from entirely ruining the scenic charm and environment of Goa. Is there a way the pollution and contamination can be dealt with while also balancing the coal mining and transportation? Or is the coal to be done away with entirely? Let us know your thoughts on this issue in light of recent developments.