Tar balls on beaches, Goa to write to Centre on marine pollution

The Goa government will write to the union ministries including the Home Affairs, Environment and Shipping, urging them to act against those responsible for spilling oil in the high seas, which has resulted in oily tar balls being washed ashore along the western coast of India, including Goa.

“Action should be taken against those who create pollution in the high seas. It is a west coast problem, which impacts the entire stretch,” Chief Minister Pramod Sawant told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday.

Sawant’s comments come days after tar balls — greasy blobs of thick weathered oil — layered several beaches in Goa, resulting in dark, ugly streaks on the beach sand.

Sawant said that he was going to write about the issue to the Union Home Ministry, Union Environment Ministry and the Shipping Ministry.

Sawant also said that the beaches which have been polluted with the tar balls will be cleared in time.

“The beaches will be cleaned regularly,” Sawant said.

The emergence of tar balls on Goa’s beaches is a seasonal phenomenon, which occurs during the monsoon season. According to marine scientists the semi-solid tar bars are created when oil discharged in the sea mixes with the salty water and undergoes a weathering process, which leads to formation of tar balls. The Goa government has previously claimed that the tar ball phenomenon originates due to oil spillage at Bombay High, an offshore oil drilling platform off the coast of Maharashtra.

Tourism industry stakeholders in the state have repeatedly urged the Goa government to take up the matter with the central authorities in order to ensure permanent solution to the menace to beaches, which are a top draw as far as the tourism industry in the state is concerned.