Goa to be garbage-free by 2020

Panaji: The Goa government has set a target of making the coastal state, visited by lakhs of tourists every year, garbage-free by 2020.

The deadline was set at the first-ever meeting of Goa Waste Management Corporation (GWMC) which was chaired by Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar today.

The Corporation came out with a set of measures to ensure the state becomes garbage-free in the next three-and-a -half years, a top official of GWMC said.

“The first step would be to ban the use of plastic bags below thickness of 40 microns. Those carrying or using plastic bags below 40 microns would be fined heavily. Later, a general ban will be imposed on carrying plastic bags of all kinds,” Michael Lobo, Director of GWMC, said after the meeting this evening.

The meeting discussed the issue of imposing stringent penalty on those found littering waste at public places, said Lobo, who is also an MLA.

“It was suggested that amendments needed to be done in existing Acts to give more teeth to enforcement authorities.”

The legislator, who is also Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, admitted that several initiatives taken in the past to make Goa garbage-free have not worked. “This time, implementing authorities will be held accountable for failing to curb littering.”

Lobo said necessary infrastructure like dustbins, trucks and manpower for segregating garbage would be provided to the local panchayats.

In a major decision, the Corporation decided to take over the cleaning of beaches from a private contractor, who had been accused of over-charging for the task.

Lobo said the tourism department lacks the necessary infrastructure to clean beaches, the biggest attraction for travellers, and hence the Corporation will now shoulder the responsibility of keeping the shorelines clean.