How is Goa for settlement

Extraction of raw materials threatens the species-rich mountain region in India

Palm-lined beaches, azure blue sea and high summer temperatures even in winter - the holiday paradise of Goa is very popular with travelers from Europe and North America. However, hardly a visitor suspects that only 50 kilometers from the beach, in the formerly densely forested Western Ghats mountains, an ecocide of enormous proportions is taking place. Heavy machines tear up the ground and mine iron ore in countless places. Goa earns almost as much money from exporting the red earth to China as it does from tourism. But the overexploitation demands a high price, says ecology professor Madhav Gadgil:

"The Western Ghats and the island of Sri Lanka have a great wealth of species that can only be found here. The Western Ghats are therefore one of the hotspots of biodiversity, 18 selected regions of the world that have a great wealth of biological species, but also among strong ones Influences from the human species are suffering. In the Western Ghats, the destruction of nature through infrastructure projects, mines and industrial settlements is already taking on threatening proportions. "

The opencast mine produces enormous amounts of dust, which settles on villages and fields and reduces agricultural yields, according to the professor. The overburden is washed into streams and rivers by heavy rains during the monsoons, damaging fish and crustaceans. Because the mines pump out the groundwater, the wells of many farmers run dry. A judicial commission of inquiry found gross violations of the law in many mining companies. In June 2012, the government therefore issued a moratorium on all mining in Goa. Many residents are very satisfied with this, as Madhav Gadgil found out during a visit a few weeks ago:

"Many people who live near rivers were amazed at how many fish, mussels and crabs they can catch now that the mining industry has stopped. They are very happy about the unexpected enrichment of their menu. Increased due to the decrease in air pollution also the yields of agriculture. "

After environmentalists sounded the alarm and organized demos against other coal-fired power plants, iron ore mines, and dams in the Western Ghats, the Ministry of the Environment in New Delhi commissioned a team of experts with an ecological inventory of the entire mountain range. Madhav Gadgil was entrusted with the management of the so-called ecological expert council for the Western Ghats. The professor believes that the Western Ghats are not only a habitat for tigers, elephants and several endangered species of monkeys:

"There is hardly any other region in the world where you can find so many wild relatives of well-known crops, for example wild pepper and cardamom, wild forms of mango, breadfruit and many other cultivated plants."

Madhav Gadgil and his team submitted a 500-page report in August 2011. The scientists recommend creating buffer zones in which industrial activities would be severely restricted in order to set up particularly important nature reserves. Then, for example, many of the iron ore mines in Goa would have to cease operations. The report sparked protests from influential interest groups and quickly disappeared into the ministry's drawers. Citizens groups published the document on the Internet and are now campaigning for the recommendations to be implemented. The fate of the Western Ghats has not yet been decided.