PANJIM: Water bodies and rivers in Goa are facing a serious threat of pollution and silting due to the iron-ore mining, a veteran anti-mining activist today said. Rivers, especially, are "at the mercy of mining", said well-known environmentalist and activist Ramesh Gawas.
"In the case of Khandepar river, which feeds Opa reservoir, there are 21 mines in one kilometre radius," Gawas said during a seminar on 'Litigation against corruption for human rights' here.
Khandepar river supplies water to 30 per cent of the Goan population, he said. Goa exports around 40 million metric tones of iron ore every year. According to Gawas, there are 825 mining sites in the state, as against the official figure of 100-odd sites.
Mining along the banks is ruining rivers, he said. There are 37 mines in the space of one kilometre along Kushavati river, which has lost its "natural identity", he alleged. Mandovi river, Goa's lifeline, has 37 loading points from where Iron ore is transferred to ships. Gawas claimed that there are 27 mining sites in the catchment area of Mandovi.
"The mines around Mandovi generate 1.01 lakh tones of mining reject annually. 70,000 cubic tones of mining particles are deposited in the river every year," he alleged. He said there were mining heaps right along the river banks, in a blatant violation of Coastal Regulation Zone rules.
Mining has posed a threat of pollution even to Selaulim dam, which provides drinking water for 54 per cent of Goa?s population, the activist alleged. – PTI


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