'Tar balls' surfacing on Goa's beaches, Minister says measures taken to handle it

Panaji, May 16 (IANS): "Tar balls", or greasy blobs of thick weathered oil that washes ashore, have once again started surfacing on Goa's coastline, deterring locals and tourists from walking barefoot.

Tourism Minister Rohan Khaunte told reporters that it is an annual recurring phenomenon.

"We have already told the Environment Department about this and have asked them to study about it and come out (with plans). We have been told that it is a spillage from the high seas. It is creating problems for the beaches of Goa," he said.

Khaunte said that presently, beach cleaning agencies are clearing them from the beaches. "But somewhere it has to be stopped. The Goa Pollution Control Board has been given the mandate. Couple of months back we had a meeting with the Minister of Ports in this regard. It is important that we handle it," he said.

Locals from Mandrem in North Goa informed that presently tar balls have started surfacing on the beaches creating problems for people.

The tar-ball menace on beaches peaked in 2011, with the state government directing the Indian Coast Guard to crackdown on ships dumping their ballast off Goa, but it had not yielded the anticipated results.

Tourism industry stakeholders in the state have repeatedly urged the Goa government to take up the matter with the central authorities in order to ensure permanent solution to the menace to beaches, which are a top draw as far as the tourism industry in the state is concerned.

While the government is making all efforts to satisfy the eight million tourists visiting Goa and draw more to the tiny state, it is also facing the challenge to tackle all these issues.



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Title: 'Tar balls' surfacing on Goa's beaches, Minister says measures taken to handle it

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