Goa continues to suffer from poor waste, sewage disposal

Goa continues to suffer from poor waste, sewage disposal
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PANAJI: Only a few days after declaring itself open-defecation free (ODF), the state of Goa is facing issues with waste and sewage disposal. According to the order of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), the sewage disposal system in the state does not cover all households. Most of the houses are not connected with the sewerage network, which has resulted in pollution of 11 river stretches. This is because sewage from these houses flows directly into adjacent rivers.

Presently, the state has a total of 399 sewage treatment plants (STPs) which are not capable of covering all households in the state. The Government of Goa has therefore decided to build eight new STPs in the state with the aim of giving universal access to sewage disposal systems in the state. According to the government, these new STPs will be connected to drains and other sources of sewage.

Taking a note of 351 polluted river stretches across the country, including 11 in Goa, the NGT directed all the States and Union Territories (UTs) to formulate and implement action plans for the restoration of polluted water stretches across the country. Moreover, the NGT has also warned the states that post March 2020, states will be liable to pay fines if they continue to discharge sewage waste into rivers.

One of the most recent initiatives under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was spreading awareness about the need for people to separate dry and wet waste before disposing it. Nevertheless, doing its bit, the Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) has put a condition stipulating that units which generate more than 100 kg waste a day must make their own arrangements for disposal and treatment of waste.

The Goa Waste Management Corporation (GWMC) has also been engaged in segregating waste. Despite this, its waste treatment facility in Saligao continues to receive mixed waste collected from public spaces, littering spots and beaches. This is where the local self-government authorities fail to function fully since they are responsible for door-to-door waste collection and strict implementation of waste segregation norms.

Apart from this, due to the absence of scientific waste disposal facilities, a number of panchayats continue to burn waste openly causing air pollution. Moreover, there has been no stringent actions by the GSPCB, civic bodies and the GWMC against those indulging in open burning of waste despite of a nationwide ban on the practice. A survey report available with the GWMC, which has been prepared for formulating solid waste management policy for the state, says that currently North Goa generates 467 tonnes of waste per day while South Goa generates 299 tonnes of waste every day.

It has been estimated that the state will generate 888 tonnes of waste on a daily basis by 2025, 992 tonnes per day by 2030 and 1,108 tonne per day by 2035.

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