GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
Ministry of Environment and Forests
UNSTARRED QUESTION NO: 666
TO BE ANSWERED ON 15.11.2010
Prevention of Maritime Pollution in Goa Beaches
666: Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar:
Will the Minister of ENVIRONMENT AND FORESTS be pleased to state:
a) Whether the Tar balls floating up to Goa beaches recently have once again brought to the fore because of weak environment and liability legislations for checking maritime pollution;
b) If so, what are the legal loopholes that come in the way of curbing maritime pollution and steps taken to make them more stringent;
c) What action is taken/penalty imposed in case of violation of Environment (Protection) Act; and
d) How many times the provisions of the Act have been violated during the last two years and action taken in those cases?
MINISTER OF STATE (INDEPENDENT CHARGE) FOR ENVIRONMENT AND FORESTS (SHRI JAIRAM RAMESH)
(a) Appearance of tar balls on Goa beaches is an occasional phenomenon occurring during/after the monsoon. Tar balls are often formed due to the churning of sea waters containing residual oil, released after cleaning of the tanks by ships bound for the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf.
(b) to (d) Provisions exist for addressing ship based pollution through the Merchant Shipping Act 1958. Section 3 of the Environment (Protection) Act empowers the Government to take such measures as necessary for preventing, protecting and abating environment pollution including the ship based oil pollution. Indian Ports Act 1908 and the Rules framed there provide for a fine of Rs. 5 lakhs on the person/ship causing the pollution together with the cost of the cleaning up.
During the previous two years, provisions of the Indian Ports Act 1908 have been invoked on three occasions. The provisions of Environment (Protection) Act 1986 were invoked in August, 2010 against the ship owner of MY MSC Chitra, for causing oil pollution off Mumbai Coast.