Goa continues to be advertised on the net as a destination offering swaying palms, white sands and sparkling waters backed with amazing photographic clips. One wonders if Goa meets the expectations of visitors from near and afar.
Much is desired in standards of health, safety and the environment. The beaches reek of decaying food and waste water. Walkers and playing children need to watch every step to avoid plastic bottles, light bulbs, dog pooh, vegetables, dead fish and snakes and recently, I noticed soiled baby nappies swaying in the waters.
I came across two men pulling a fishing net in Benaulim. The numbers of empty packaging way outnumbered the half a dozen of tiny fish in the net. No compensation for their arduous labour. Regular cleaning of the shore and emptying of bins, to be provided, would reduce some of the above issues. On providing the necessary facilities, it would be fair to penalize offenders.
Lighting on the beach would allow visitors to walk and play much longer rather than the current cut off at sunset. The beaches are glorious at night. The incidents reported deter people from continuing on the beach, once dark. The stray dogs are aggressive and prone to carry rabies.
A tear springs in the corner of my eye when I think of the times gone by. Large families and groups of friends gathered in rented bungalows during school break or regularly visited their local beach in the evenings. Children ran around on the shore care free, played ball games, built castles, tunnels and townships in the sand. Rivulets, as in Colva beach, flowing from the sea inwards offered an amazing place to sail handmade boats or just bathe unattended.
The beach was a great meeting point for adults who sat cozily on the shore in groups, exchanged family news and had discussions on various topics. The pleasant hours were followed by sharing the homemade contents of a picnic basket.
Some thought and effort could remedy the situation and reinstate the beaches to their original glory we Goans are proud of and happy to share with visitors. The revenue earned from tourism and the employment opportunities it provides are not to be disparaged.