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Activist claims River Sal in Salcete has become a polluted drain in the last 10 years

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PANAJI: While the controversy regarding the discharge of raw sewage from a Government-run Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) at Navelim in South Goa, into the River Sal made headlines in Goa, the fact remains that it is not just the STP that is polluting the river, which is considered the water lifeline of Salcete.

According to activist Shreha Dhargalkar who recently visited and surveyed several locations along the course of the river Sal, untreated sewage and waste water is being released into the river at various spots along its course, contaminating fields, fresh water sources, springs and salt pans.

Dhargalkar who has started the “Save River Sal campaign” on WhatsApp by forwarding images of the polluted river, claims that the river pollution has increased more than 100 times in the last 10 years. She also blamed the former Benaulim and present Margao MLA for turning a blind eye towards the pollution of the river.

“The MLAs of Navelim, Margao and Benaulim (former MLAs) are squarely to blame for the pollution of River Sal. While they were filling their pockets and ensuring their own development, they did nothing to save the river from destruction,” Dhargalkar said, laying the blame for the pollution at the MLAs table.

Villagers of Navelim, Colva, Benaulim and Cavelossim have time and again protested against the discharge of sewage into the river, but except for assurances and promises nothing has happened over the last few years, while the pollution levels keep increasing, Dhargalkar stated, adding that the percentage of micro plastics and fecal coliform bacteria in the river has also increased several times in the last few years.

Shreha lamented that the River Sal flows through three constituencies, but none of the three MLAs over the years, have ever made any serious effort to put the brakes on the sources of pollution.

“The polluted river water is seeping into low-lying fields in Navelim and Benaulim and harmful chemicals and other substances are percolating into the soil, even contaminating the soil in the area,” Dhargalkar said, promising to take the Save River Sal campaign to its logical end in the coming days.

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