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Friday, March 22, 2013

Use eco-friendly means to line water bodies, greens urge water resources department

Use eco-friendly means to line water bodies, greens urge water resources department

MARGAO: The measures undertaken by the water resources department (WRD) of providing concrete lining to water bodies have come under the scanner of environmentalists who have demanded eco-friendly measures be adopted as an alternative.

At a meeting of representatives of various village groups and other concerned citizens in Margao recently, the participants pointed out that the use of concrete had destroyed the ecological balance of water bodies throughout the world, “causing great alarm” among environmentalists and the general public.

They took serious note of the fact that in the last twenty years or so, Goa’s river banks, ponds, traditional nullahs and other natural courses for water have been ‘strengthened’ with concrete, supposedly to prevent erosion and, in some cases ‘beautify’ the area.

“Tonnes of concrete continue to be poured into our sensitive water bodies and nullahs every day, choking all forms of life therein, and further polluting our precious water resources,” the participants at the meeting rued.

Environment lovers are of the view that the government should look at more environmentally-conscious ways of restoring water bodies, preserving and enhancing the prevailing environment, and more importantly, creating jobs for local craftsmen using readily available natural material.

“Just recently the department has launched lining of a nullah at a cost of 11 crore. Often tenders are out for huge sums of money. We all know that Goa is a high rainfall region and often there are intense spell of rains. The soil is well drained and hence water immediately percolates in the soil and slowly seeps in the gutters, nullahs and rivers. By concrete lining we are hampering the natural process. Secondly, concrete lining will not help any aquatic flora and fauna thrive which otherwise play an important role in keeping the water clean and unpolluted. Who benefits in this entire exercise is the contractor and maybe someone who gives the contract,” says Sachin Tendulkar, a farmer from Dabhal, near Sanvordem.

Tendulkar suggests the involvement of local farmers to carry out this work using traditional method, knowledge and techniques. “The best method is to use concepts of bio-engineering and line these embankment with laterite and rubble stone so that, over a period of time, the plants and vegetation grow on this embankment and make it strong, provide habitation for crabs, frogs, fishes, turtles, reptiles,” Tendulkar said.


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