The River Sal was once an economic hub to the various villages in South Goa. The meaning of word Sal means “river salt” in Portuguese and indeed in my childhood days people used to flock from neighbouring villages and town in order to purchase quality salt from the salt pans systematically connected to the River Sal. This particular river attracted many Goans for its tasty fish.
As years passed by, the River Sal was considered one of the seven most polluted rivers in India. The river which was once flowing with its rich natural resources was gradually made to carry in unwanted things of the town and villages. Noise pollution of open-air halls just above the river banks is another hurdle for aquatic life to survive on.
The River Sal has been a source of dumping of untreated sewage water, waste water from the residential areas, industries, scrapyards, servicing centres etc, which gushes down into the blessed river and connected tributaries to it which led the water to lose its saltiness, disappearance of species, cause of water borne disease and the emitting foul smell which keep us far from our livelihood.
During the lockdown days, one could see in the certain areas of the river, water quality has improved. Flow of water has been considerably changed thus paving a new life for the living creatures.
People have lost a sense of responsibility towards our common wealth for their selfish motive. In order to maintain rich biodiversity of the river, all the panchayats from Verna to Cavelossim and the unruly municipality area need to create community awareness and implement rules of the land to protect, preserve and promote the natural resources.
Especially, putting an end to dumping of garbage in water and release untreated sewage water into the river so that we may get our precious river back alive and active.
This year 2020 has marked five years of Encyclical letter ‘Laudato Si’ of Pope Francis. It is an inspirational letter that calls for us to examine our hearts, transform our social values and take action for protecting our common home.