Goa’s world famous beaches attract nearly 3 million tourists every year.
Unfortunately, however, most tourists throw their rubbish on the beach itself, leaving Goa’s beaches dirty and full of garbage. Calls by the Goa Tourism department and the Goa Government as well as the Goa Coast Guard seem to have no effect on the amount of garbage generated on Goa’s beaches. Which is why a Goa beach village has now come up with the unique idea of making tourists carry back the garbage that they generate while spending time on the beach.
Betalbatim, a small Goan beach village around 30 km from Panaji (the capital of Goa) passed a resolution recently mandating that tourists who picnic or party on its beach would be given plastic bags and made to carry back their garbage with them.
What seems quite a drastic measure is in fact a last ditch response to clean up Goa’s beaches. Goa’s overcrowded beaches and countryside have seen garbage piling up, with the state failing to put in place a proper and effective garbage disposal mechanism. Beer bottles, empty tetra packs and chips packets can be seen strewn across the sand, left behind by the tourists.
But it must be said, in all fairness, that there are no proper dustbins or proper garbage disposal containers for those tourists who want to be responsible. Neither the coastal village panchayats nor the tourism department is equipped to safely dispose of the garbage collected by sweepers.
Whether this move would actually prove effective in helping minimise the amount of garbage thrown on the beach is to be seen. Garbage is one of the most contentious issues facing the Goa Tourism department along with overcrowding of its beaches.
Unfortunately, garbage on beaches is not a problem faced by Goa alone. A quick google search for “garbage beach” throws up some shocking results of beaches flooded by garbage including the famous Brighton beach which had a whopping 23 tonnes of garbage.
What Goa needs is more dustbins along the beach as well as a proper garbage collection system that ensures that the collected garbage does not remain on the beach for a prolonged period of time. Goa is also testing a mechanised beach cleaning system that will clean the beaches more effectively and faster than manual cleaning methods.
But mechanised beach cleaning or not, it is up to each and every one of us who visits the beach to make sure that we take back all our rubbish with us, instead of leaving it on the beach for someone else to clean up!