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Beaches in India's Goa hit by mystery oil slick

by Staff Writers
Panaji, India (AFP) Aug 31, 2010
A clean-up operation was under way in Goa on Tuesday after some beaches in the Indian resort state were found covered in a thick layer of oil.

Teams have been sent to beaches the length of the former Portuguese colony following the discovery on Monday, officials said. They include representatives from the local pollution control board and tourism authorities.

State tourism department director Swapnil Naik said it was unclear when the operation would be finished and said thick tar balls were being washed up on the shoreline.

There was no immediate indication of where the oil had come from but Gaurish Dhond, president of the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa, said the incident happened every year.

"We cannot avoid such things," he told reporters, without elaborating.

Goa depends heavily on tourism for revenue and attracts some 2.4 million visitors every year, including about 400,000 from overseas. The main tourist season is October to March.

Most are attracted by the state's laid-back atmosphere and long, sandy beaches.

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