Excessive mining in South Goa has left water resources polluted.
In today’s video, Community Correspondent Devidas Gaonkar exposes the terrible effect that mining is having on water resources in South Goa.
Salaulim reservoir, situated in the Sanguem taluka, is the largest dam in Goa. It supplies water to almost entire South Goa, comprising 55% of the state’s population. Although Devidas’s video mentions that there are 8 mines that operate near Salaulim, other sources suggest that there are as many as 15 mining leases within the catchment of the reservoir. This proves to be a grave danger to the dam, the water that flows through it, as well as the people who consume this water.
During the monsoon, mining reject flows into rivers, ponds and dams, polluting the water. This water is later used for drinking and irrigation purposes.
Due to the high iron ore and manganese ore content in the water, those who drink it may suffer from heart disease, mental illnesses and digestive problems. It is particularly harmful for children, who are vulnerable and therefore susceptible to all kinds of diseases. “Only about 50% of the people are aware of impurities in the water.” says Devidas. “They try and use water filters, or collect the water in large containers, letting the silt settle down at the bottom. This ensures that the top level of water is clean. But for those who don’t know that the water is polluted, they are unknowingly putting themselves at great risk.”
Devidas tells us that farming is also suffering because of the high concentration of minerals in water. Silt forms a layer over the ground, sometimes as high as 4 inches, leaving it infertile. Paddy, the staple crop of Goa, is worst affected by this.
“Water forms the basis for all life.” says Devidas. “Our government seems to have forgotten this significant fact, and is only interested in short term financial profit. Therefore, naturally, it will be on the side of miners. This leaves local people in a helpless position. We have no one we can report to, and most importantly, no one who can assure us clean drinking water.”