Goa. The name conjures up images of golden beaches, buzzing nightlife, lovely churches, distinctive houses and friendly people. No wonder this small state is one of India’s biggest and busiest tourist destination.
Goa. The name conjures up images of golden beaches, buzzing nightlife, lovely churches, distinctive houses and friendly people. No wonder this small state is one of India’s biggest and busiest tourist destination. Right from the 1970s, the state has been a popular spot for tourists who flocked here for the beautiful beaches, relaxed vibe and unique cuisine. This state attracts over 8 million tourists every year.
However, the glitzy and energizing tourism industry dumps around 8 metric tonne of plastic waste into oceans annually, causing a menace that must be tackled on a war footing. Located on the central west coast of the country, Goa’s coastline spans just 105 km. However, its per capita plastic waste generation is 8 times higher than the national average at 61.2g per person per day.
Aware of the challenge at hand, the Government of Goa has announced many projects in last few years to create a circular economy that can sustain itself without damaging the serene beauty of the state. As part of its action plan for climate change (2020), the government is establishing plastic waste collection facilities across the National Highways. The administration has also set up Solid Waste Management (SWM) Facilities in North and South Goa. The state has banned single use-plastic and aims to be plastic free soon. For habitual offenders, the administration has amended the Plastic Waste Management by-laws to provision a fine upto Rs 3 lakh. Committed to eradicate plastic waste from its shores, the government is involving stakeholders like gram panchayats, market association and tourism industry to educate the people of Goa to avoid the use of plastic.
Government has constituted Goa Waste Management Corporation (GWMC) to deal with all garbage related issues including legacy dump sites in the State. GWMC has taken over all the ongoing SWM Projects in Goa including SWM Facilities at various locations, Biomedical Waste Management Facility, Hazardous Waste Management Facility and E-waste facility.
Today, Goa boasts of two state of art SWM facilities (Saligao, Cacora) having cummulative capacity of 350 TPD with a seamless waste collection mechanism that supplies waste to these facilities. Door to door segregated waste is collected by thousands of swatchata mitras each day which is then further segregated into 16 categories. Wet waste is converted into biogas which is used to generate electricity. The Saligao plant generates 28000+ units of electricity per day.
Goa currently generates around 2700 tons per month of non-recyclable waste (plastic waste constitutes major part). This waste is baled and transported to cement plants in neighboring State of Karnataka for co-processing. Until now, more than 2 lakh tonnes of waste has been transported and co-processed, leading to an estimated saving of 40000 tons of coal.
In addition to the existing facilities, a 250 TPD waste to energy facility has been proposed at the Verna- Goa, that will utilse the refuse derived fuel (RDF) generated at several Material Recovery Facilities in the state.
Through its clear vision, strategic thinking and committed action, Goa government has launched an all-out war against plastic pollution. What has been achieved so far is just the beginning. Through innovative initiatives, stringent regulations, and community engagement, Goa is paving the way for a cleaner and greener future. With tireless efforts of all stakeholders, the Goa government is leading the charge towards a more sustainable and plastic-free world, setting an example for others to emulate. As the sun sets over the turquoise waters of Goa’s coastline, hope rises, and a brighter, cleaner tomorrow beckons us all.
Dr. Sneha Gitte, IAS, serves as Director, Department of Environment & Climate Change, Government of Goa