Goa church may approach UNESCO against garbage plant

Panaji: Goa’s Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao will be roped in to join efforts to stop a garbage plant being set up near the Old Goa Church complex, a world heritage site endorsed by UNESCO.

Fr. Visitacao Monteiro, a parish priest from St. Andre village which is in close proximity to both the dump and the 16th century church complex, has said the Archbishop would be asked to write to the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to stop the BJP-led coalition government from going ahead with its garbage dumping plan.

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“Yes, we will ask him to step in,” Monteiro told reporters at a press conference here Thursday to protest against the move.

“There is no garbage management. The earlier sites which were acquired for its management have been turned into garbage dumps which have rendered nearby areas unlivable,” Monteiro said.

“Having a waste management site within such an area will certainly cause nuisance to the tourists and create a bad image for the state. Besides, the Old Goa is a sacred place for all in the state, irrespective of their religious faiths,” he said.

The garbage management zone near the complex is likely to be notified by the state government soon, even as the City Corporation of Panaji has sought to identify the designated 1.18 lakh sq metre area as an industrial area, to facilitate the plant.

The city generates an average of 7-8 tons of non-biodegradable garbage and 25 tons of biodegradable garbage everyday.

The church, located 15 km from Panaji, is especially venerated because it holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier who is known as the region’s patron saint.