Goa beaches are known to be some of the most beautiful ones on the Western coast of India. But now, there seems to be a major problem that is affecting these beaches, and it’s not something to be taken lightly.
According to a report by Hindustan Times, unusual chunks of a black material, suspected to be coal, seem to be depositing on the beaches of Goa. The report mentions there is speculation surrounding imported coal that is being handled at Mormugao Port was making its way to the state’s beaches.
Fisherman and water sports trainers first noticed, and reported the black particles on South Goa’s Benaulim beach, whereas renowned campaigner Claude Alvares visited Querim beach in North Goa which also had black particles.
“We noticed it yesterday for the first time, the black particulate matter that was different from the tar balls,” Pele Fernandes, a water sports operator from Benaulim beach, said.
“A few tourists were asking me what it is and I had to say I don’t know even though I suspected it was coal because I feared that they may not visit the beach again,” Fernandes said.
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Claude Alvares elaborated on his findings, and said that the coal washing up along Goa’s beaches was “only because the loading and unloading operations at MPT are still very primitive.”
Earlier last year, researchers at IIT-Kharagpur and the National Institute of Oceanography in Goa published a study where they noted the presence of a “dark black powder from the adjacent beaches of the Mandovi river.”
“The physical appearance of the black powder looked very similar to that of the fine particles of coal. The scanning electron microscope images also support that the black powder was coal particles. However, further investigation is required to identify the sources of this fine black particle associated with high concentration of Hg,” the study mentioned.
Following this, the Goa government publicly pledged to reduce coal imports, with chief minister Pramod Sawant assuring that the state will not be allowed to turn into a ‘coal hub.’
“I assure you coal import and handling will drop by 50 per cent. We will reduce coal and are in the process of stopping it as soon as possible. We cannot stop it altogether. Industries are on (have been running) for 40 years,” Sawant said.
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