Creeks in Goa

A Creek is a narrow, sheltered waterway, especially an inlet in a shoreline or channel in a marsh. So basically it is a stream of water that merges with a river before entering the sea. It is also an area where freshwater and salt water meet and tidal flushing occurs. The objectives for tidal flushing are to: • Displace invasive plants, eliminate soil and water acidity, prevent water stagnation, mosquito breeding and water-borne diseases. • Increase oxygenation, increase sedimentation to counter sea-level rise, increase dissolved oxygen, and restore marine life. Creeks help circulate our planet’s water and provide important habitats to a variety of aquatic plants (Flora), aquatic animals (Fauna) and birds. Water is at the core of sustainable development and is critical for socio-economic development, healthy ecosystems and for human survival itself. Also, under Section 3(1) and Section 3(2)(v) of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and Rule 5(3)(d) of the Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986, Creeks come under Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) and need to be protected. The following activities are declared as prohibited within the CRZ, namely: new industries, disposal of hazardous substances, new fish processing units, new effluent/waste treatment plants, disposal of untreated waste and effluents, dumping of city or town waste or ash from thermal plants, land reclamation, mining harvesting or extraction of ground water other than manual wells for domestic purpose or traditional activities. However, cities and towns since time immemorial have developed along the banks of rives. Increase in population led to increase in garbage and sewage water. Lack of recycling space and treatment plants led to disposal domestic wastewater, sewage water and solid wastes into water bodies, flouting all rules of environment safety standards. Hence a proper management plan is needed to safeguard the water bodies. Goa’s economy is growing every year. While this growth has brought many socioeconomic benefits like development and employment, it has caused significant environmental impacts like: 1. Increase in air and water pollution-Air pollution is the introduction of particulates, biological molecules, or other harmful materials into Earth’s atmosphere, causing diseases, allergies, and damage to other living organisms such as animals and food crops, or the natural environment. Water pollution occurs when pollutants are directly or indirectly discharged into water bodies without adequate treatment to remove harmful compounds. An estimated 580 people in India die of water pollution related illness every day. Raw wastewater is rich with nitrogen and phosphorus (N, P) and leads to the phenomena of Eutrophication, which is the growth of huge amounts of algae, weeds, reeds and other grasses leading to the deterioration of the water quality. Invasive Weeds like Salvinia and Water Hyacinth can grow so dense thereby reducing space and causing oxygen depletion, that they pose a threat to the native species. They are also one of the reasons for flooding, as plastic and other garbage get entangled in the roots which prevents water flow. Another issue is Siltation which is also a type of water pollution caused by land erosion of particulate material, like silt or clay. The silt is mostly from construction activities, deforestation and mining activities. The siltation chiefly affects the marine life: • Filter-feeders like mussels, clams, prawns, corals, baleen whales take in water, filter out nutrients and oxygen and then expel the water. • Some birds, such as flamingos and certain species of duck, are also filter feeders. Filter feeders can play an important role in clarifying water, but when they take in polluted water, the sediment can kill them and disrupt the food chain. • Siltation can also choke fish eggs and larvae, reducing population numbers. 2. Increase in biodegradable and non-biodegradable garbage–Biodegradable or organic waste is manageable as it can be broken down and mixed with mud to create compost for growing plants, farming etc. But non-biodegradable garbage like plastic, rubber tires, styrofoam, fiberglass and metals, cannot be broken down into its base compounds by micro-organisms, air, moisture or soil in a reasonable amount of time. It is an environmental concern, as it threatens to overwhelm landfills and create disposal problems. Therefore recycling is the best option for managing it.

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