Having researched on sewage seeping into the fields in Goa, I was certainly devastated and was reminded of a recently released web series on Netflix.
On October 18, 2023, the web series Kaala Paani was released and it met with very critical reviews much to the reality it portrays on screen. Amit Golani and Sameer Saxena are the show's directors. Amey Wagh, Ashuitosh Gowariker, Mona Singh, and other supporting cast members are the series' primary leads.
The narrative of the online series Kaala Paani transports viewers to the Andaman Nicobar Islands' saline waters and the breezy ocean. However, things are not all sunshine and roses on this island; social order collapses, leaving its people stranded and cut off from the outside world.
In this survival drama series, people fight an unseen war against nature to survive and make it out of the salty waters of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The show narrates the survival angst of a group of people stranded thousands of kilometres by the vast sea and trying to escape the wrath of nature.
In this hidden battle between humans and nature, these people discover that their fates are intertwined not only with the environment but also with each other. The series asks viewers how far they would go in order to survive, telling a realistic tale about the struggle for survival.
Thus, we too must ask at this point, should we wait for a catastrophe to take place rather than be up in arms and fight to save the fields and the environment that is continuously at stake around us?
Very recently, villagers in Velsao, particularly farmers, have been concerned about the contamination of their fields due to the discharge of raw sewage from mega projects at Queeny Nagar in Sancoale hillocks. Traditional farmers claimed that the release of sewage into their fields is impeding agricultural activities, despite the revival of farming activities in the area this year.
Social activists argued that the release of raw sewage is a health hazard and that prompt action should be taken against these projects. A Cortalim Zilla panchayat member urged the government to promote agriculture and encourage young people to pursue farming instead of white-collar jobs. The villagers also feared that another proposed project would also release sewage into their fields.
Also very recently, local residents in Cuncolim Industrial Estate demanded immediate action against alleged pollution caused by manufacturing units. They invited everyone to gather at the main gate of the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) to raise awareness and shed light on the pollution caused by factories. Residents have been concerned about foul odours, untreated water disposal, and wastewater pumping by fish processing industries. They believe that thousands of hazardous tons of industrial waste have been exposed in an open environment for years, leading to severe health issues and irreparable environmental damage.
Concerns have been raised by stakeholders regarding the opening of the farm policy to North Indian business people, the prohibition on corporate participation in contract and community farming and the shifting of agricultural land to non-agricultural uses.
Farmers in Salcete are struggling to prevent sewage from entering their fields while they wait for Selaulim irrigation water to be available for planting multiple crops. Salpem Lake serves as an illustration of how once-luxurious verdant pastures have been destroyed by sewage and trash from metropolitan communities.
Due to resorts, hotels and massive housing developments that are placing a burden on the population and limited land resources, the villages along Saxtti's coastal strip have transformed into semi-urban towns. Social activists contend that in order to keep the agriculture policy practical and efficient, it should be integrated into a comprehensive land use strategy for Goa.
There are proponents and opponents of the practice of depositing sewage or wastewater into fields, commonly referred to as agricultural or land application of sewage sludge or biosolids. Proponents contend that elements like nitrogen and phosphorus that are beneficial to crop growth can be obtained from cleaned sewage sludge. The requirement for chemical fertilizers can be decreased by using properly prepared biosolids as fertilizer.
Opponents, however, express worries about possible threats to human health and the environment, including the existence of dangerous microorganisms, heavy metals, and other pollutants. In order to reduce threats to the environment and public health, regulatory bodies around the world have set rules and recommendations for the application and treatment of sewage sludge.
To guarantee appropriate treatment and responsible application of sewage sludge, local authorities, farmers and wastewater treatment facilities must collaborate while adhering to best practices and set criteria.
The Agriculture Department in Goa must implement a policy to tackle urbanization, tourism and industrialization issues by collaborating with other departments including Town and Country Planning, Water Resources, Tourism and Urban Development to preserve the green spaces.