This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by TallulahDSilva. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Here’s A Green Plan To Save Goa Without Impeding Development

More from TallulahDSilva

By Tallulah D’Silva:

The Union Minister of State for Tourism, Shri Shripad Naik, recently stated that he will support and promote a green tourism plan for Goa. A good plan is one that recognizes the State’s green assets, and Goa is blessed with pristine beauty, rich biodiversity, and complex man-made natural systems harnessing these natural resources in the most sustainable and non intrusive way. If we don’t recognize and make efforts to conserve these, no plan is good enough, or green – particularly one that is merely hogwash!


Goa is currently at a juncture where the challenges of urbanization, tourism, business, sanitation, water supply, waste management, traffic congestion, connectivity, and population are at its peak, and addressing these with the right long term vision will be key to its sustainable development. Can development supersede or occur at the cost of environmental degradation? Remember what happened to the people of Easter Islands? For business to do well and development to take place with the least impact to the environment, it is important to first acknowledge what we have and the role it plays, to then be able to conserve these characteristic assets. What are Goa’s ecological assets then and resulting economic drivers?

Let’s take Tourism, which is the backbone of Goa’s economy. Why are tourists coming to Goa? The first tourists set foot in the 1970’s – primarily ‘Hippies’, who made Goa their refuge for its pristine beauty and ‘susegad’ village life. Since then, the number of visitors to this tiny coastal state have spiraled, and current figures estimate that 3.5 million tourists, both Indian and foreign, throng Goa annually. And this is a staggering number, if one compares it to Goa’s population of 1.5 million! And a large percentage of these tourists favor the coastal belt, and around 85% prefer to stay at the small and medium guesthouses and hotels mostly run by local Goans. Over the last 30 years, tourism has flourished and raked in good revenue to Goa’s economy, with all stakeholders benefitting from the cash pie. But the stark lacuna has been felt at key points, where basic supplementary services and amenities should have been provided for, by the government and its relative departments. Changing rooms on the beach, washroom facilities, information centers, garbage management systems, and wastewater management systems have long been absent, and no steps have been taken to remedy this basic infrastructure requirement. Imagine if the Government back then had the foresight to formulate a vision for tourism in Goa 30 years hence! No tourist will be keen to come to Goa if there is garbage strewn all around, sewage seeping into the water bodies, etc. It is not too late, and now that the current government has taken steps to assert a vision for a green tourism plan and promote its cultural traditions and hinterland tourism, it is time to strengthen the vision by first recognizing what Goa’s ecological assets are, and take measures to strengthen and protect these, and only then integrate new infrastructure to improve business.

What are the assets that drive Tourism in Goa, and how can we strengthen these?

1. Goa’s greenery is replete with agrarian fields, beach vegetation, urban tree cover, and protected forests. It is a privilege to be one of the World’s top 25 biodiversity hotspots. This is one of our greatest assets, and one that can drive eco tourism for generations. And who is sustaining these? Farmers, forest communities, and the state forest department. Who benefits from these? All the stakeholders in the tourism business. Least of all, the farmers and forest communities. How do we conserve this asset? Simple. Promote agri-tourism by bringing the farmers into the fold of eco tourism. Promote organic farming and products. Orchards, coconut groves, and paddy fields are our future food security, unless you want to consume heavily pesticide-doused apples and other food items from China, New Zealand, and other parts of the globe! Promote home-stays around forest areas. Allow forest communities to run home-stays. Let the communities get direct benefits from this model of promoting hinterland tourism. Develop the Wildlife Sanctuaries such that these have a 3KM buffer zone, where eco tourism can be allowed, keeping the core area completely undisturbed, and therefore allow biodiversity to flourish. Development must be non intrusive in these eco sensitive areas. All road cutting across Wildlife Sanctuaries and protected forests must have underpasses to allow wildlife to evolve undisturbed; reduce road kill, and thus, enrich the gene pool. All activities must be high on experience, and low on built infrastructure. White water rafting in Goa by the Tourism Department is a very good model, and similar activities like nature trails, camping with tented accommodation facilities, bird watching trips, etc., are good eco tourism models to replicate. Another idea to promote non-intrusive activities is to promote camps for researchers and scientists, and citizen science projects where comprehensive documentation of Goa’s flora and fauna can be promoted and listed.

2. Goa has unique waterways and man made khazaans. Goa is water rich due to the fact that it receives a high amount of rainfall, and yet it faces water scarcity in many areas, particularly during the summer. Its forests are the sources of fresh water and its main lifelines- the Mandovi and the Zuari, originate in the upper reaches of the forests along the Western Ghats. This fresh clean water is perennial. We also tap fresh clean water in wells that comes from natural aquifers, as Goa is rich with lateritic soil and rocky topography. Preserve all of these in villages, hinterlands, even towns and cities, and we can ensure water security for generations! Goa’s coast is unique with creeks and the backwaters that are managed by sluice gates that monitor the tidal currents. These are our natural infrastructure systems and security against the imminent rise in sea levels due to climate change in the future. All the khazaans and fields beyond are catchment areas for fresh water, man-made rain water harvesting system as rain water runs down the surrounding hills and flows down to these low lying fields, where it percolates and replenishes the ground water table. The saltpans along the backwaters are our manufacturers of natural salt. Rich in iodine and minerals, it is locally harvested and a guaranteed remedy for common colds, sore throats, etc. Ask grandma! These also support rich bird life and microorganisms. Millions of tourists visit Goa to sight birds – both endemic and migratory ones, that thrive in these habitats. When the seawater rises, the creeks will allow the water to flow into its backwaters via the sluice gates and beyond the wetlands and some into fields where the bunds have been breached. If these existing natural systems are conserved and protected from rampant construction and development, these will act as safety mechanisms and will limit the impacts of sea level rise. Restoration of bunds that have been breached will help to conserve all our agrarian lands and ensure food security for the city and state.

3. Goa has its unique built heritage with forts and causeways. Forts all along the coast act as effective buffers against the fury of the sea and the causeways allow for easy accessibility. These need to be conserved at all costs and impacts of new developments properly understood. Goa is yet to implement a heritage master plan for tourism.

4. Goa’s coastline, with unique beach vegetation and elements like sand dunes, ipomoea runners, casuarinas etc. is one of its most important assets, and one that sparked tourism, but has now got so ravaged with indiscriminate flattening of its sand dunes, absence of vegetation, rampant construction, waste water, and garbage pollution, that the day is not far when no tourist will want to step out on its sandy shore. Strict regulation and monitoring by the local bodies, basic infrastructure, and supplementary services will be key to its survival. And it is now time for the government to wake up and prepare a vision and master plan for its coastal tourism and implement it without further delay, provided it follows a transparent, inclusive, and participatory process, where all stake holders including the community are made key members of this exercise.


1. Conserve all the above-mentioned ecosystem assets. If we don’t protect these natural assets and the interests of the local community, we will lose business! Protect and conserve these and business will flourish.

2. Let new infrastructure be non intrusive. Sensitively plan new roads, bridges, and connections. Are these necessary in the first place? Why place another bridge when there are already two or even one? Who will benefit? How will it impact mudflats, fishing, and other traditional occupations? Again, the focus needs to shift from the current one, where mobility and congestion can be solved not by widening roads or building new ones or adding flyovers, but improving the public transport system itself. Introduce new swanky buses, better facilities for the public. Let people accrue the benefits. Allocate funds for infrastructure with priority to people and one that has least impact on environment.

3. Community comes first. Local people are priority. Local communities are the primary stakeholders, let them be involved in the decision making process. Let them be made a part of the business plan.

4. Basic amenities are a must. Every tourist hub must be facilitated with proper bins, washrooms, information kiosks, etc.

5. Garbage and wastewater management systems must be made mandatory. Completely clean Goa of garbage and grey water/sewage, and have in place decentralized micro systems that use low energy, natural methods of recycling to reuse waste and garbage as a resource.

6. Adopt a policy with these as long-term goals. Or else every time the government changes, a new plan is floated and all efforts seem to be mere attempts at green washing tourism in Goa.

You must be to comment.
  1. Arlette Noronha

    Loved it! Would love to see this take the shape of reality, and not become a concrete jungle, that Goa is fast turning into…at the same time, maintain a steady pace of development and a balance with ecology. We need to educate our youth n start running these programs/initiatives in schools, so it gets inculcated into the depths of their mind n becomes a habit to conserve n not destroy, clean rather than litter! Would love to help in whatever small way I can…count me in!

More from TallulahDSilva

Similar Posts

By Ethico India

By Aaditya Kanchan

By Navya Shorey

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below