Stop playing politics with garbage: Panaji mayor

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Even as the state's tourism season is underway, Uday Madkaikar, the mayor of the state capital Panaji, on Wednesday, urged politicians to stop playing politics with disposal of sewage and garbage.

The civic authorities turned away 28 trucks carrying sewage waste collected from a beach tourism hub in North Goa, from a treatment plant in the state capital. 

Madkaikar told reporters on Wednesday, that the civic authority was forced to boycott the 28 trucks on Wednesday, after trucks carrying 15 tons of garbage collected from Panaji to a solid waste treatment plant in North Goa's Saligao village, were stopped by workers of Goa Forward MLA Jayesh Salgaonkar on Tuesday. 

"On Tuesday, trucks carrying 15 tons of garbage from Panaji were stopped and asked to return. Today, we stopped 28 tankers carrying sewage waste from the coastal belt. We urge politicians to stop playing politics with garbage, or this standoff will continue," Madkaikar told a press conference on Wednesday. 

The plea from the mayor of the corporation of Panaji, comes at a time when local residents of Saligao and nearby areas have opposed the expansion of the solid waste treatment plant, claiming that mismanagement of the plant was taking a toll on the health of the villagers of Saligao and nearby areas.

Commenting on the stoppage of the garbage trucks, Salgaokar claimed, that only those garbage trucks which were leaking were turned away by angry villagers. "We will continue to oppose the proposed expansion of the garbage treatment plant," Salgaonkar 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. 

The state currently has only one garbage treatment plant at Saligao, which handles garbage generated from nearby beach tourism hubs of Calangute, Baga and Anjuna and other parts of the state which includes the state capital. The increased load of garbage has incidentally taken a toll on the functioning of the plant, whose numerous breakdowns have caused emanation of odour and triggered protests from residents in the vicinity. 

Lack of garbage treatment facilities and waste strewn around in tourist hot-spots, according to tourism and travel industry stakeholders is one of the reasons behind the dip in tourists' arrival to Goa. The state attracted nearly eight million tourists last year. 

 
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