Goa looks to PM’s Varanasi as model for waste management

Panaji: Grappling with the politically sensitive issue of garbage management in South Goa district, the Goa government wants to seek inspiration from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency of Varanasi and the Delhi government, in order to to finalise technology to dispose waste in South Goa’s Margao town.

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Speaking to reporters after a meeting of the high powered committee appointed to address the issue of management of the state’s biggest garbage dump at Sonsoddo in South Goa, which has divided political opinion, Garbage Management Minister Michael Lobo said that the Goa government was looking to set up three alternative bio-machination units on the lines of those existing in Delhi and Varanasi to treat the garbage collected daily.

“We will send one person to see what is happening in Varanasi or Delhi… their bio-methanation process. The decision has been taken to start three small plants, until the Sonsoddo problem is resolved,” Lobo said.

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The inability of the state government as well as a private waste management agency to treat garbage at Sonsoddo, in South Goa, has raised health concerns in nearby areas. In May, the garbage dump had started emitting smoke due to fire triggered by combustible methane gas pockets in the dump.

Lobo and former Deputy Chief Minister Vijai Sardesai are currently at loggerheads over the means proposed to be used to treat the hundreds of thousands of tons of untreated waste accumulated at the Sonsoddo garbage dump.

Lobo also said that the government was in the process of finalising the technology which would be used to treat the waste at the state’s largest garbage dump, adding that to ensure discipline in garbage management, police have been instructed to fine and imprison those who litter indiscriminately in large volumes.

“Fines for people dumping garbage will start now. Police will fine and imprison those who litter, especially restaurateurs who dump garbage in public places,” Lobo said.

Waste management has emerged as a key issue in Goa, with the state travel and tourism industry facing flak on account of mismanagement of garbage, which is strewn in public areas, including beaches.

Goa currently has only one solid waste management plant.

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