Lakes fall ill due to garbage dumping, borewell digging

City Governance Health Lifestyle National

Excessive silt deposition is another reason

Shivani Priyam

Bengaluru’s lakes are in a poor condition. Excessive silt deposition and installation of borewells nearby has caused a steady decline in their water level.

Residents say lakes should be treated on a yearly basis depending on the level of rain received.

Yediyur lake in Basavanagudi, said to date back to 1,400 years, has become a breeding ground for flies and mosquitoes, say walkers and joggers.

Muralidhar N., a retired police inspector who comes to the lake to walk every evening, informed The Observer: “The state government occasionally takes measures to clean up the lake. We have a team of 15 people who visit the lake every day. Lack of adequate rain in this area is leading to the water turning stagnant, while fresh springs are few.”

Agara lake, once huge, is now reduced to a small area. Digging of borewells in the vicinity has reduced the amount of water in the lake.

Aman Khan, a student of the Carmel Garden Public School, said: “I visit the lake once or twice in a month with my two sisters…. Construction of new apartments in the area and digging of private borewells have caused the water level to sink further.”

Bellandur lake, the largest in Bengaluru, caught fire in January 2018. Chemical effluents from factories discharged into it caused the fire to burn for hours. Sewage and industrial waste still  flow into the lake, polluting it further. The water at the banks is stagnant and full of froth and mud.

The lake doesn’t have a walking track. Encroachers are penalized.

Shivam Kumar Pathak, who sells juice near the lake, said: “The water in the lake is extremely dirty. Factories discharge chemicals into the lake, producing a bad stench.”

Captain Sadhashiv Badigere, a National Green Tribunal officer, said: “We look for all-round protection of the lake. Our men, deployed across the boundaries, seize vehicles parked illegally. We do not allow anyone to get closer than 75 metres from the lake.” People dumping garbage into the water body are penalized.

Puttenahalli Lake in JP Nagar 7th Phase has become a dump of garbage, mud and sewage. When it rains heavily, walking along it gets difficult. Polluted water and sewage flow into the lake through a channel. The Observer found piles of garbage and mud on the banks of the lake.

Pawan Raj, who lives opposite the lake, said: “I have stayed here for almost 22 years. Just one month ago, we complained to BBMP about the clogged roads and lake, but nothing has been done. The authorities clean the lake once in a year, especially during the rainy season.”

M Deena Pavana, assistant executive engineer, Bangalore Development Authority, informed The Observer: “We have written to the Pollution Control Board to check the level of pollution in the water bodies. The NGT is monitoring the process. Encroachments are removed and the BWSSB has set up sewage-treatment plants to cleanse the lakes. Once the water is dry, we try to desilt the lake, so the capacity of the water increases.”

The Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority Act, 2014, states that the function of the Authority is to exercise regulatory control over all lakes within its jurisdiction, including prevention of encroachments. The Authority plans to take up environmental impact assessment studies for all lakes. The rules of the new Act are expected to be merged with KLDCA soon so as to have adequate control over local authorities.

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