Varthur, Bellandur folks lose sleep to mosquitoes

The inhabitants of Varthur and Bellandur areas will have a tough time battling mosquitoes this summer thanks to an excessive growth of invasive macrophytes in the waterbodies.

Owning a home overlooking a lake is a dream of many, but for residents living near the city’s Varthur and Bellandur lakes life has turned into a nightmare. 

Every family living in the vicinity of the two highly polluted lakes is spending about an average of Rs 697 per year on mosquito repellents. As the water bodies are filled with invasive macrophytes like water hyacinths, the lake water has become a breeding ground for mosquitoes. 

The plight of citizens and their losing battle against mosquitoes has found a mention in the experts’ committee report on the rejuvenation of both the lakes.

The report - prepared under the chairmanship of Additional Chief Secretary Mahendra Jain - states that the lakes are choked by excessive growth of water hyacinth, which is expected to cover at least two-thirds of the lakes during summer.

According to experts, these aquatic plants provide a conducive environment for mosquitoes to breed. 

“Both these lakes are to a large extent covered by water hyacinth. During summer, these invasive macrophytes cover two-thirds of the lake as per the evidence from remote sensing data and Google Earth,” says the report.

Though every household spends more than Rs 1,000 a month on a variety of repellents, the report considered the average spending keeping in mind the socio-economic factors of all the people. 

Residents in the vicinity of the lakes are already complaining about the mosquitoes. “During the recent visit by former Justice Santosh Hedge, we raised the issue of mosquitoes in the area. Our condition is unlivable. Mosquitoes swamp us, especially in the evenings. It is impossible to step out due to mosquito menace,” said Sonali Singh, a resident of Bellandur.

“Our helpers and maids complain of being unable to sleep during nights due to mosquitoes. I really feel sorry for the security guards. They are chewed upon despite putting repellents,” she added.

To tackle the problem, experts stressed the need for quick rejuvenation of the contaminated lakes.

“I spend about Rs 1,000 every month on herbal mosquito repellents which is too much compared to others living away from the lake,” added Sonali Singh.  

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