Goa's Mandovi River Water Unsafe For Swimming, Fishing

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In India, Goa is considered a major tourist destination. The major revenue of Goa state comes from tourism. Goa's main rivers are Mandovi, Zuari, Terekhol, Chapora kushavati river and the Sal. The Mormugao harbour on the mouth of the River Zuari is one of the best natural harbours in South Asia. The Zuari and the Mandovi are the lifelines of Goa, with their tributaries draining 69% of its geographic area. These rivers are some of the busiest rivers in India. Goa has more than forty estuarine, eight marine and about ninety riverine islands. The total navigable length of Goa's rivers is 253km (157mi). Goa has more than three hundred ancient tanks built during the rule of the Kadamba dynasty and over a hundred medicinal springs.

Goa's Mandovi river is unsafe for water sports and fishing due to high level of coliform bacteria in it, according to a recent study by state Pollution Control Board.

"The coliform bacteria content in the water is alarmingly high. The water is full of bacterial contamination which makes it unsafe for recreational bathing, water sports and fishing," says the Goa State Pollution Control Board report.

The report would be submitted to the National Green Tribunal, which is hearing a petition regarding the pollution caused in the river due to off shore casino vessels.

The GSPCB, however, has ruled out that the off shore casinos were releasing untreated sewerage in the river water, as the inspection of the vessels revealed that they were abiding by the board's norms.

"The casino vessels are complying with the conditions of the consent of the Board with regards to disposal of sewage through night soil tankers for treatment at the sewage treatment plant of the PWD, Tonca," the report said, stressing the need to monitor and identify the source of pollution.

The suspicion is now raised on the bilge and oily substances of the casino and other ships that use the inland water for transportation.

"There is necessity to monitor the disposal of bilge and oily substances," the GSPCB has said.

The report was compiled in May this year after testing of water samples collected from six different locations of Mandovi river between January 27 and 31, 2014.

The parameters monitored were colour or odour, floating matters, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, fecal coliform and biological oxygen demand, the pollution control board said.