Goa’s garbage: Be a part of the solution, not the problem

Without the active participation of the general public, Goa's garbage and waste management systems seem to be going nowhere fast
ALL THE WORLD'S A BIN? Nowadays, people seem to be littering even more than they did in the past, dumping their garbage everywhere, from roadsides to beaches.
ALL THE WORLD'S A BIN? Nowadays, people seem to be littering even more than they did in the past, dumping their garbage everywhere, from roadsides to beaches.Photo: KD

MAYA ROSE FERNANDES

I don’t know if it’s just me, but I’ve noticed that people seem to be littering even more than before. When driving over a bridge the other day, I was shocked to see a car parked by a bridge.

As I watched from a distance, a member of what looked like a middle-class family got out and emptied a plastic bag full of rubbish into the river below.

ALL THE WORLD'S A BIN? Nowadays, people seem to be littering even more than they did in the past, dumping their garbage everywhere, from roadsides to beaches.
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Where do people think all their garbage goes? Do they envision it dissolving in water just because it sinks and clogs up the deep? I’m sure there are anti-littering campaigns of some sort or the other in schools, and if there aren’t, there should be.

But, do we now need to come into people’s homes and teach them not to litter? The government ad campaigns don’t seem to be working quite as effectively as one would have hoped, certainly not in Goa.

Do we now need to come into people’s homes and teach them not to litter? The government ad campaigns don’t seem to be working quite as effectively as one would have hoped, certainly not in Goa.

I’m sure you’re no stranger to the excruciating sight of plastic and garbage bags, waste, empty bottles, tissues and other litter strewn all over the place, everywhere you go.

My walks around Panjim city, including Miramar beach, are always dotted with garbage.

Around the beach area, there are a couple of government cleaners at work, picking up after the thoughtlessness of people, seemingly resolute to treat the world as their giant trash can, but a lot more is needed, that’s for sure.  

ALL THE WORLD'S A BIN? Nowadays, people seem to be littering even more than they did in the past, dumping their garbage everywhere, from roadsides to beaches.
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It was with bittersweet amusement that I shook my head one day when a friend gave me directions to get to their house and included the words, “…when you see the garbage heap on the corner of the road, take the next left and my house is the third one to the right.”

When did garbage heaps become a landmark indicator for directions to anywhere?

Garbage and waste management in Goa has been posing environmental, health and aesthetic challenges to the state for decades now.

Despite efforts to address the problem, including the national campaign for a cleaner India, the waste issue leads to overflowing landfills and pollution of water bodies, not least from hazardous landfill leachate that isn’t effectively managed.

ALL THE WORLD'S A BIN? Nowadays, people seem to be littering even more than they did in the past, dumping their garbage everywhere, from roadsides to beaches.
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One of the main issues plaguing waste management in Goa, at the moment, is the lack of efficient collection and disposal systems.

Government departments seem to always be struggling to get one part or another of the life cycle of their waste disposal system running efficiently.

As a result of insufficient infrastructure and the investment of resources to contribute to handling the problem, there is a mounting volume of waste generated by the growing population and expanding tourism activities.

The outcome is garbage strewn on streets and by roadsides or piled up in open spaces and accumulating along waterways.

We’ve already heard much spoken about the scale-up of tourism way beyond the carrying capacity of the state – the lack of waste management is just another indicator of this.

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