Panaji: Goa`s beaches, which attract thousands of tourists annually, will no longer be cleaned manually. Large cleaning machines are being acquired by the state government to clear the beaches, Tourism Minister Dileep Parulekar told news agency on Thursday.
The beaches, once considered pristine, are now lined with litter. The Goa tourism ministry is all set to acquire massive cleaning machines, which could be set to work on the beaches by December, the minister said.
Parulekar said that a public demonstration of the cleaning process would be held so that the fears of environmentalists are allayed.
Environmentalists had earlier expressed fears that if the beaches are not cleaned manually but with machines, the animal life in the sand could be harmed.
"Environmentalists can attend the demonstration, so that they can see that no animal life which lives in the sand on the beaches is disturbed. The machines do not interfere even with sand patterns," Parulekar said.
Officials of the state tourism department said that several beaches in the country, including the country`s biggest, Chennai`s Marina beach, used machines, not manual workers, for cleaning.
"By December, when the largest number of tourists arrive, we should be in a position to clean beaches with the machines," Parulekar said.
"Right now, we engage contract workers for cleaning the beaches. But with machines, the efficiency of the cleaning process will be heightened. Even the smallest piece of garbage, like cigarette butts, can be sucked out by these machines. We have shortlisted some machines already," an official said.
The most popular beach-belt in Goa, which stretches from Baga, 20 km north of here, to Sinquerim, is likely to be the first where tehse machines would be tested. In South Goa district, the Benaulim to Utorda stretch will be the first to deploy the machines.
Goa`s beaches are home to hordes of tiny sand crabs, which live in the porous sand pockets.
Over 2.6 million tourists visit Goa annually, most of them from October to March, the peak tourism period.