sangam

Gokarna disaster

Potentially, Gokarna is the wealthiest village of the whole District, be its multiple resources properly managed.

Khushi Parisara, extremely concerned with the tourism growth at Gokarna, with its extensive use & throw practices, the massive CRZ encroaching, the huge tourists/visitors OD, the large garbage incineration, the death and heavy pollution of water bodies, etc, got prepared to make a move in Gokarna wastes management and sanitation.

Khushi Parisara projected to foster the population’s wise up on how to find individual, collective and global solutions putting them into practice.

We sought to close the loop that can lead to a sustainable change: information → knowledge → awareness → mindfulness → practice.

It has positively proved possible to generally develop these conceptual guidelines except with the local bodies and local administration. Public reacted as positively, as administration and power bodies reacted negatively.

Now, without a paired action (public/governors) no change is bound to be sustained, more sustainable it could be.

In Gokarna, due to floating population, the waste management is a bigger issue than in small towns.

The water channels, creeks and tirthas of Gokarna are filled with solid waste, and the place became an endemic abode for mosquitoes and its pathogenic spreading.

Moreover, the blockage of creeks and improper sewage, have contaminated the drinking water bodies of the village.

We acknowledged this situation where, despite the comprehensive system of rules provided, the information and caveats given by State and Central authorities, garbage is dumped and burned everywhere, drains are clogged with trash, plastics are given at shops, landfills grow all around and burn day after day.

The difficulties are legion and challenging, but not impossible to overcome, we believe.

They indeed claim a broad, intense, inclusive and joint effort. All of us can notice the improvements managed in some segments of the whole figure. But the whole figure has still the same shape.

Then, we have put the best of our good wish and capabilities designing an Pilot Project to establish a fundamental “Trash Change” in the way people view their relationship with trash, at all places, at all levels, building a healthy community by a clean environment, through simple everyday actions. It was all about to develop new practices, efficiently adjusted to the precarious environmental context, implementing positive activities focused on education, community and governance actors.

Because our DC manifested his interest for the development of the Village, we tried to articulate our work and join efforts on that direction. We have stressed that, though our DC may be primarily interested in investing Gokarna as a “psychagogic” tourist destination, as far as the seashore remains an OD, dumping and incinerating place, the drains clogged with waste and mosquitos, the rare bins incinerating points, with the pilgrims trashing all the time, everywhere … there is no shuddha environment for any modality of yoga, except karma and bhumi marana yoga. Within these conditions no scatter Yoga offer can promote the place.

However, if local strong stakeholders, together with DC, CEO, TP, KSRTC, DHO, PSI, Temple trusts, bet on Gokarna  as a  green pilgrimage place, preparing it to be part of the Green Pilgrimage Network, that might bring an effective and durable change with a broad range of benefits, environmental at the top. For that, Gram Panchayat should be able to make a change on its current line of (in)action.

Gram Panchayat and local governors involvement, support and monitoring are crucial to solve the seemingly insuperable difficulties. Only a robust drive could drive through.

Then, the muddle of our endeavour – and an extremely serious one – is that all our efforts became fully wasted since, after motivating and training people on individual good practices, there was no corresponding institutional good practices – no proper collection, no proper segregation, no proper transportation, no proper composting, no proper fining, etc. Then, the long acquired Fundamental Right to Litter got still more consolidated on the public and private practices.

It is not surprising that, at the end of the (foreigners) tourist season, the seashore becomes a dumping and burning place

Tourism SP waste management – Gokarna 2017

Tourism SP waste management – Gokarna 2018


Waste is daily burned all around, but mainly at the landfill place

Open waste burning – Gokarna

At the same time water bodies and water flows became dead bodies and they are strongly contaminated

Water bodies and water flows – Gokarna

Realizing that both a lack of decision and criminal actions are hampering the common good and creating here unacceptable situations of abuse and violation of the environment, with outrageous collateral damage to human health and nature, namely to air, ocean and water bodies/water flows, after identifying the most critical environmental issues, assessing their root causes, pinpointing main stakeholders, we proposed comprehensive remedial actions, demanding civic bodies to achieve their assigned duties, performing us our role on creating environmental awareness.

Now, to reverse the immovable inaction of Gram Panchayat, we demanded to sequents PDO, EO, CEO & DC to prompt the involvement of GP members for S&PWM, and we shaped a Shuddha Gokarna – Pilot Project on which we targeted the application for the Green Pilgrimage Network, as a tool to radically change the context in which the floating population is … floating!

Shuddha Gokarna – Pilot Project targeting at zero waste – 3rd draft

To precedent CEOs we requested operational incontrovertible interventions within their reach only:

· Enforce GP members to comply with SWM Rules & Panchayat Raj Act, namely framing byelaws and planning waste management

· Enforce GP members to comply with PWM Rules taking a zero plastics stance

· Seek coastal engineering expertise for a sound and sustainable Gokarna Sangam remediation project

· End of chronic open toilets discharging into water drains

· Involve coastal GPs and TPs on a joint program for Marine Trash prevention (and remediation)

· Tackle the massive SRZ violations (since Gangavali up to Aghanashini)

· Mobilise the 3 months requested Task force for Gokarna waste awareness program (June, July, August)

To DC we requested to provide or promote capacity building on waste governance and waste related operations, namely

· take a preliminary step to model public behaviour implementing Eco-Chart at all UK

· strict enforcement of rules & regulations (waste, sound, plastics, burning)

· assign legal landfill to Gokarna & waste collection vehicles for GP

· appoint a special PDO for Gokarna

· tackle SRZ violations

· join SDG14 Commitment (namely call coastal GP and TP of UK on a joint program for Marine Trash prevention and remediation)

In this briefing we just refer to our appeal to the Higher Officers, leaving aside the other secondary stakeholders as GP, PDOs, EOs, THO, DHO, PSI, SP, BEO – to whom we appealed as well.

And here also we mention only the incontrovertible points identified at that time (2015/6). With the deterioration of the local conditions these points extended considerably by now.

Now we think it is big time to know what has every stakeholder done to perform its share on the changing process, what has to be done, and what can be done.

Until recently, none of the marked cogent actions have come to rescue the havoc of Gokarna environment.

Because everything around Gokarna requires much higher action, we asked to previous CEO in February 2018 an audit to GP waste management to start globally understanding how far is possible to go with their nefarious governance system of “not governing themselves, nor allowing to be governed”.

Since we had no information from CEO side, we then complained to DC trying to trigger the corrective actions that are not coming, for a multiplicity of reasons.

Apparently there are possible realms and impossible ones.

The ones that are impossible are such because public servants (elected bodies or officers) are not performing, not because of public. Generally, public is following them.

For the impossible ones, after asking action from PDO, EO, CEO, THO, DHO, we called intervention from Director of HFWS and Principal Secretary Rural Development and Panchayat Raj.

So far, nothing has moved.

But how to go further if for most of our officers and elected members it looks normal, and correct, that

· waste is widely burned or thrown into water bodies

· fish nets are abandoned on seashore

· toilets discharge into the rain drains

· drains are used as dustbins

· etc … etc…

Time and time again, we are pointing the same mismanagements, proposing the remediation actions and the condition is exactly the same.

This does not trails us to stop our action.

Just the opposite, because enough is already enough.

After 1 year we are still expecting a report tracking GP

· actions taken to improve the water management, drainage, health and sanitation,

· measures taken to implement waste management, plastic rules, NGT decisions,

· actions taken to impart awareness on cleanliness, preservation of environment and prevention of pollution

· ways chosen to assist the employees of the GP in sanitation arrangements in the area of Ward Sabha (KPRA)

· voluntary service rendered for the removal of garbage (KPRA)

· process for licensing of buildings on srz zone, (of hotels, shops, restaurants, bakery, boarding or lodging house, etc)

And we are still waiting a reply to our formal request to DC to enforce those incontrovertible actions to rescue Gokarna disaster

· Call coastal engineering expertise for a sound & sustainable Gokarna Sangam remediation project

· Enforce GP members to urgently comply with Solid & Plastic Waste Management Rules and Karnataka Panchayat Raj Act

· Tackle the massive Gokarna SRZ violations

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