June 6, 2011
By Babu Thomas
Christian Today India
The Catholic Church in Goa expressed concern over excessive mining in the state which it said posed a grave threat to ecologically sensitive areas.
Marking World Environment Day on Sunday, the Council for Social Justice and Peace (CSJP), the social wing of the archdiocese, lamented that mining, deforestation and aggressive promotion of eco-tourism by the state government was eating into Goa's green cover.
The Council's executive director Fr Maverick Fernandes in a statement said forests in Goa were under severe attack due to mining for iron and manganese ore.
The mining he said was of great threat as Goa lies in the centre of the Western Ghats and is endowed with the best forests in the country.
The Church has also expressed concern at the state's forest policy which it pointed required "serious overhaul". The Church stressed on the creation of forest buffer zones and banning diversion of forest land for mining purposes.
"The problems of mining, deforestation, pollution, loss of water resources and wildlife trade constitute the crucial issues to be dealt with while discussing the need of sustainable use of forests," said the statement.
"Eco-tourism is completely against the interests of the forests of Goa in the present scenario,” said Fernandes. He further noted that monitoring and regulating transportation of forest produce through the forest gates were overlooked.
On Sunday, various events were held across the country to mark the World Environment Day for which the theme was "Forests: Nature at Your Service". This year the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) selected India as the global host.
To spread awareness on environmental conservation, the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) urged churches to observe 'Green Sunday' on June 5 with special prayers, sermons and intercessions.