Absence of sewage treatment facilities have once again come to the fore along Salcete’s coastal belt.
If Colva village is plagued by rampant discharge of sewage in the creek and water bodies, the situation is no different in Cavelossim and other villages, where sewage and waste water finding its way into the storm water drains for want of any waste disposal system in place.
Says Chinchinim Health Officer, Dr Nixon Fernandes: “Sewage disposal along the coastal belt is a very serious issue. There are so many drinking water wells close to the drains, which are used for the discharge of sewage and waste water. The entire coastal belt is a sitting duck. We cannot take chances on the health front.” Dr Nixon agreed that discharge of sewage water in the drains poses a health risk and suggested building community latrines and toilets as a temporary measure to solve the problem till the sewage treatment plant falls in place.
Says Benaulim MLA Caitu Silva: “Sewage disposal is indeed a major problem facing the coastal villages in my constituency. It’s against this backdrop that I have proposed to the government to make budgetary allocation for an underground sewerage line right from Cavelossim, Carmona, Orlim, Varca and Benaulim, besides Colva to take care of the sewage waste”. The Benaulim MLA has promised to pursue the matter with the Parrikar government to connect the coastal belt to the sewerage plant.
Former Cavelossim Sarpanch Edwin Barretto said time is running out for the government to include Salcete’s coastal belt in the sewerage project. “During my tenure as Cavelossim Sarpanch, the Panchayat had adopted a resolution to connect the entire coastal belt to a sewerage system. The government should start the project at the earliest before the situation goes out of control”, he said.
In the recent past, villagers from Varca, Benaulim, Betalbatim and Majorda had complained to the Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) against starred hotels for discharging their sewage waste in the open fields, water bodies and the traditional “handhis” and storm water nullahs.
Take the case of Colva. In the absence of any sewerage plant in place, sewage and waste water finds its way in the storm water drains leading to the creek, contaminating the water body. It’s nearly three years now that social activists have been waging a running battle with the authorities to stop the flow of sewage from the hotels and establishments into the storm water drains. Says social activist, Judith Almeida: “I had to file the Public Interest Litigation in the High Court because the situation was turning from bad to worse. Till date, however, there’s no permanent solution in place. Despite the High Court directions, waste water still finds its way into the creek. We hope the government works out and implements a sewerage scheme for Colva as a long term solution to the menace.” [H]