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Copious Quantities of Garbage And Litter On Goan Beaches Posing Health Hazards: Dr Naresh Purohit

Bhopal 25.03.2022. The post- covid resumption of mass tourism in Goa has led to copious quantities of garbage and litter being dumped back on to the state’s eight popular beaches and the seas alongside posing health hazards to visiting tourists and locals said Dr Naresh Purohit, Advisor for National Programme on Climate Change & Human Health (NPCCHH).
Sharing his concern with the reporters here on the harmful effects of garbage on human health and marine ecosystems noted Epidemiologist Dr Purohit informed the reporters that according to a recent study by the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) every year, roughly eight million tonnes of plastic garbage wash into the ocean. All the oil spilled in the Arabian sea eventually gets deposited on the western coast in the form of tarballs during monsoon, when the wind speed and circulation patterns favour their transportation.

“Formed out of dumped oil and ballast from seafaring vessels, tar balls in the beaches of Goa are presenting an environmental health hazard” he cautioned

He stated that several microbes present in the tar balls aid in degrading the hydrocarbons. Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) found in them contain pollutants like fluorine, naphthalene, acenaphthene and 13 others.
He averred that there is a sufficient evidence to conclude that PAHs like benzopyrene and chrysene are carcinogenic even at very low concentrations,

He pointed that tarballs can be hazardous to human life due to the presence of vibrio vulnificus, a bacteria whose entry through wounds could be fatal, according to scientifics studies.

“These petroleum blobs also affect marine biodiversity in several ways, such as disturbing turtle habitats. This in turn, augments the impact on humans who consume marine fish.”added he

Principal Investigator of the International Academy of Environmental Sanitation and Public Health (IAESPH) Dr Purohit averred that the most common illness of gastroenteritis is associated with swimming in beach water polluted by sewage . It occurs in a variety of forms that can have one or more of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, stomachache, diarrhea, headache or fever. Other minor illnesses associated with swimming include ear, eye, nose and throat infections. In highly polluted water, swimmers may occasionally be exposed to more serious diseases.

He said that another potential source of illness includes some types of cyanobacteria that form algal “blooms” (discolored water) and the toxins they produce. When people are exposed to cyanotoxins, they may have hay fever-like symptoms, skin rashes, sore throat, cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or even kidney or liver damage.

He noted that not all illnesses from a day at the beach are from swimming. Food poisoning from improperly refrigerated picnic lunches may also have some of the same symptoms as swimming- related illnesses, including stomachache, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea

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