Concerned over tar balls sullying beaches, Goa writes to Centre

State environment minister Nilesh Cabral said that he has sent a copy of a study on the sources of tar balls in Goa to the Union minister and that “discussions are in progress”.
The soft and sticky tar balls are a huge deterrent to tourists visiting the beach and threaten the footfalls at beachside businesses. (File Photo)
The soft and sticky tar balls are a huge deterrent to tourists visiting the beach and threaten the footfalls at beachside businesses. (File Photo)
Updated on Sep 23, 2020 06:02 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Panaji | ByGerard de Souza

The Goa government has written to Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar seeking a solution to the recurring problem of tar balls that wash ashore before as well as after the monsoon.

State environment minister Nilesh Cabral said that he has sent a copy of a study on the sources of tar balls in Goa to the Union minister and that “discussions are in progress”.

“We have tracked down the source of these tar balls after studying the phenomenon. We have written to the MoEF about the matter. The Central ministry will now study our findings before taking measures to address the issue which we have raised,” Cabral said.

In 2013, a study by the National Institute of Oceanography had conducted a study on the source of the tar balls that wash ashore on beaches of Goa, sullying the water and the sand and coating it with a slimy coating that makes it unsafe to bathe in the sea.

The studies had said that the source of the tar balls was from passing tankers that wash their tanks en route between the Middle East and Southeast Asia or from accidental oil spills.

A subsequent study in 2016 found that the tar balls that washed ashore in late May were from Bombay High, but the ones seen in August-September after the monsoon were from the tankers on the high seas.

The soft and sticky tar balls are a huge deterrent to tourists visiting the beach and threaten the footfalls at beachside businesses.

Tar ball deposition along the West Coast of India (WCI) is a common phenomenon during the southwest monsoon season, particularly along the coast of Goa and Gujarat, and it is a major concern to the stakeholders especially tourism stakeholders.

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