Goa tourism downplays tar ball effect


Trying to troubleshoot any possible damage to the industry vis-à-vis blackening of beaches due to tar balls, the state tourism industry has downplayed the incident terming it as an annual phenomenon.

“According to Goa based National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), a marine research organisation, the appearance of tar balls along with west coast of India is an annual phenomenon,” a press note by tourism department said.

The release quotes NIO as saying there is likelihood of such occurrence (tar balls) in the months from May to October annually, generally arising when an oil-slick occurs in the vicinity.

“Changing patterns of the weather and tides play a large role in determining whether the appearance of tar balls will continue over the next few days,” it adds.

The state tourism industry which is gearing up for the next season in October had feared cancellations after the tar balls on Goa beaches made headlines at national and international level.

Tourism and Travel Association of Goa (TTAG) president Gaurish Dhond had echoed fears that adverse publicity through such incidents may affect the industry.

Goa tourism director Swapnil Naik downplaying the possible tourism setback due to blackened beaches said that this is an annual phenomenon.

“Close to 200 personnel are working round the clock to ensure that the beach cleaning operations proceed smoothly,” he said.

Naik said the scientists from Nagpur-based National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) are expected to arrive into the state by early next week to conduct a closer study on the phenomenon.

Majority of state’s beaches have been affected due to appearance of tar balls on them.

Goa government had suspected that some rogue ship must have discharged its oil in the mid sea which was washed ashore.

Ankit Somani, vice president, Drishti Group which manages the Drishti special response services along the beaches of Goa, said his company has been supporting the state government in cleaning operation.

“The beaches are not shut, however, since the sea is rough due to the monsoon season, we have been advising visitors to refrain from swimming in the waters,” he said.