Symbolism and beach cleanups won’t solve the litter problem

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It was Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s birthday on Saturday and the BJP’s state unit and government agencies were in full swing to celebrate the occasion with a number of programs which included – most importantly – campaigns beach cleanups which took place at several locations across the state and included the participation of Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, other ministers and representatives from several government agencies. Predictably, the programs turned out to be only token performances and a photo opportunity for senior party brass to signal to high command that their instructions had been followed and that the anniversary of the Prime Minister has indeed received great prominence from the leadership of the state.

Congress, on the other hand, has taken the opportunity to question the rather apparent irony of beach cleanup campaigns – if the beaches are so dirty they demand party leaders come down to clean them” clean”, so what do you pay the beach cleaning agency upwards of around Rs 60 crore per year for?

Not so long ago, the media highlighted how serious the problem of plastic pollution had become. Fishing nets strung on Caranzalem beach have repeatedly produced more plastic than fish each time traditional fishermen bring them ashore. All this plastic waste is thrown on the beach itself and is carried away by the wind. Sometimes the CCP comes to collect the plastic, especially if there is media attention, but more often than not, no serious effort is made to relieve the beach and the fishermen of the plastic threat, which will only get worse over time. over the years to come.

Similarly, a long-term Russian visa holder, Pavel Boloyagov, has led a lonely crusade against the dumping and burning of plastic waste on Arambol beach with mixed enthusiasm from the government to follow up on his offers. to help them rid the domain of the threat. What this indicates is a simple truth – the beach cleaning agency doesn’t do a comprehensive job on the coast either, nor will periodic photo ops help rid Goa’s much-loved beaches of the threat of garbage, especially plastic garbage. None of the government’s initiatives appear to be a sincere decision to ensure that Goa’s beaches and surrounding areas are kept clean.

What the state needs is a broader, more cohesive effort to keep its beaches clean — one that involves local communities — fishermen, shack owners, landlords and beach workers. other seaside businesses, local village panchayats and others who wish to contribute. Unfortunately, it seems that the government, instead of putting a system in place or reviewing beach cleaning contracts, is happily undertaking photo ops that will have no effect on the issue at hand. There’s no way the one-day cleanup campaign will change the scenario. As a society and community, we need to take charge of our common home and not get carried away with such symbolism.

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