Panaji, Jan 21 (IANS) Star hotels and resorts in Goa could soon have pigs, cows and poultry to gobble up their garbage generated in-house.
Such "animal farms" operated by hotels is on the agenda of Francis Braganza, president of the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG), who said that if the government isn't able to resolve the garbage crisis in Goa, the tourism industry should step in and take the problem head on.
"There is a lot of food waste that is generated in hotels. Starting piggeries, dairies and poultry units could help in disposing of most of it. It will keep garbage off the roads," Braganza told IANS on the sidelines of a tourism meet here.
Goa is one of the favourite beach destinations in Asia, but over the last few years an astronomical increase in tourists and a stagnant infrastructure has resulted in chaos.
And the beach paradise's grubby slip is beginning to show.
The state's roads, beaches and water bodies are polluted by biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste. And the mess is beginning to hurt Goa's tourism interests with the state government unable to zero in on a site for a garbage waste disposal facility.
Goa's Tourism Secretary Matthew Samuel believes that the day Goa begins to take tourist inflow for granted would be the day when the state will start to take a beating. The numbers are already telling the story, according to Samuel.
"Poor garbage management will take a toll on tourism. This is already indicative from the fact that Goa is getting lower tourist arrivals," Samuel said.
Tourism industry stakeholders and the government have woken up to the garbage menace only now. But several tourists and non-residents Goans (NRG) have expressed their disgust at the manner in which the authorities have been quiet and lethargic in handling the garbage issue.
"A lot of feedback that society gets is that Germans don't want to come here because Goa cannot solve its garbage problem," said Aurobindo Xavier, a professor at a university in Munich, who also heads an NRG group in Germany.
At a time when the garbage menace is beginning to assume mammoth proportions, solutions like the one provided by Goa's Public Works Department (PWD) Minister Sudin Dhavalikar do not help.
Dhavalikar described garbage rightly as a "growing demon" at a cleanliness campaign last week. He added that garbage must be disposed of within households, something which is not practically possible, given the fact that most Goan cities and villages do not even have a sewerage system.
Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar's administration had promised to clean Goa of visible plastic within six months of coming to power in March last year before putting a comprehensive garbage disposal mechanism in place. That too hasn't happened yet.
Goa's beaches annually see 2.6 million tourists, nearly half a million of whom are foreigners.
(Mayabhushan Nagvenkar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)