Once criticised for the many garbage sites in the village, the Agonda panchayat has played a key role in initiating various measures to tackle garbage and keep the coastal village clean.
Agonda Panchayat Secretary Amol Naikgaonkar said this initiative has been taking place since the Bharat Mission Abhiyan–I (October 2014–2019), with added efforts being made during the Bharat Mission Abhiyan–II (February 2020–2024).
“The main concept is to keep the village clean and hygienic. A number of cleanliness drives are being conducted on beaches and at strategic locations. We are in the process of sanctioning toilets to those families who have missed the facility. Besides, every school in the village will be provided with separate toilets for boys and girls,” said Naikgaonkar.
Besides, having a mini-garbage compactor, the Agonda panchayat has hired two other vehicles, including a rickshaw and a Tata-Mobile vehicle, solely to collect garbage. There are eight people solely devoted to garbage collection.
While dry and wet garbage is collected on a daily basis from beach shacks, restaurants, resorts, and huts along the 3-km stretch of the Agonda coast, roadside garbage is cleaned twice a week, and garbage is collected from houses in the entire village once a week.
“There is a daily generation of 800-900 kg of dry waste and 900–1200 kg of wet waste alone. The collection of wet waste goes beyond 1200 kg on Saturdays and Sundays,” said Naikgaonkar.
The panchayat, with the active involvement of Sarpanch Fatima Rodrigues, has also conducted cleaning drives and organized corner meetings to promote cleanliness in the village. Incidentally, wall-painting activity was also arranged to create public awareness on Swatch Bharat Mission Abhiyan in the village.
While all collected and segregated garbage is taken to the Garbage Treatment Plant, which has been set up at an isolated place in the village, wet garbage is treated in the composting unit and dry waste is baled at the plant. The baled dry waste is then dispatched to the Goa Waste Management site.
It may be recalled that Agonda was once criticised for the many garbage sites, with people accusing the tourism stakeholders and residents for discarding garbage out in the open and by the roadside, creating several black spots in the village.