Black tar balls appear on Goa beaches

Slimy "tar balls" have been washed ashore on the famous beaches of Colva, Betalbhatim, and Sernabatim in south Goa and Calangute, Siquerim, and Candolim beaches in north Goa.

"We have sent teams to the beaches where the tar balls have appeared. There is nothing alarming. It is a normal phenomenon which occurs in Goa during the monsoons," Tourism department director Swapnil Naik told reporters.

According to the Goa-based National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) officials, tarballs along the coast of Goa rise whenever an oil slick occurs in the vicinity of the coastline. "One common cause for such a slick is dumping oil overboard by a passing ship... After a spill, initially, the lighter components of the oil evaporate much like a small gasoline spill. In the cases of heavier types of oil, such as crude oil, much of the oil remains behind.

At the same time, some crude oils mix with water to form an emulsion that often looks like chocolate pudding. This emulsion is much thicker and stickier than the original oil. Winds and waves continue to stretch and tear the oil patches into smaller pieces, or tarballs. While some tarballs may be as large as 30 cm in diameter, most are coin-sized or a bit bigger," the NIO websites states.

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