Tonnes of slimy tar balls which have been washed ashore to Goa's famed beaches over the last week will now be collected and sent to oil refinery for incineration.
"The Coast Guard, navy, as well as marine scientists were being roped in to brainstorm and come up with ways to curb the tar ball menace in the future," Tourism Minister Nilkanth Halarnkar told IANS on Sunday.
“We are going to collect truckloads of tar balls and send them to an oil refinery for burning (incineration). This will be done soon,” Halarnkar said. The layering of beaches with tar balls was a “serious issue”, unlike sporadic deposition of the semi-solid oily balls on the beaches of Goa over the last few years, he added.
“This year it is too much. It has not affected us right now, but it can affect the prospects of tourism in Goa in future. We will have to control it,” the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader said.
Halarnkar also said that the Coast Guard, navy officials as well as marine scientists from the Goa-based National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) had been roped in to suggest ways to prevent oil spill.
“It is caused because ships dump used oil on high seas. We cannot control it right now. So, we are discussing with the navy and Coast Guard to find a way out,” Halarnkar said.
"NIO scientists have assured us that the tar balls have not polluted environment," the minister said.
The authorities started an extensive operation to clean the beaches, known for attracting nearly two million tourists to the state.