The proliferation of plastic wastes in the urban and village environments of Goa, and the abysmally hopeless and inadequate arrangements of municipalities and panchayat authorities for the disposal of this plastic litter, are subjects which many environment NGOs and citizens have expressed anguish over right from the inception of the Goa Environment Federation (GEF).
The term biodiversity is used to describe the huge variety of life on this planet. An astonishing 1.8 million different species have been identified and named by tribals, peasants and scientists. Yet we still do not really know how many diverse species there are in the world.
We know that there are about 8,600 species of birds, 4,000 species of mammals and 32,000 species of flowering plants because these organisms are relatively well studied. However, there is still uncertainty about other organisms such as insects (where estimates vary from eight million to a hundred million), fungi (where 70,000 have been identified but 1.6 million are thought to exist) and little-studied organisms such as bacteria, nematode worms and mites. There are at least eight million species on our planet, and probably a lot more, so those who identify, name and classify organisms still have a lot of work to do. One of the greatest challenges for the new millenium is to increase our knowledge of the organisms with which we share this planet.
Goa is a premier international tourism designation. Management of garbage generated by the tourism industry and from domestic sources has not kept pace with the recent developments. In fact, the villages had no heritage of any system for collection or disposal of garbage. The Municipal Councils had a system but this was only in the major urban areas like Panaji and Mapusa. The waste was collected and indiscriminately and haphazardly dumped in unsecured landfills. The absence of any trained capacity for handling solid wastes has lead to the violation of the MSW Rules, 2000 and rapid degradation of land and environment.