Garbage is new foe of City lakes

The dying lakes in the City have now become the dumping grounds for the mounting garbage in the metropolis.

A truck dumps garbage near Subramanyapura Lake in Bangalore on Wednesday.

The trend, an apparent step towards eventual encroachment, has is hastening the demise of the lakes, and one example is the Subramanyapura Lake in Uttarahalli ward in Bangalore South constituency.

Already choked due to sewage from the nearby apartments let directly into it and rampant encroachment by the slum-dwellers, the lake is now facing a new threat from garbage contractors.

Smoke billowing from the huge garbage mounds at the Subramanyapura Lake embankment is a common sight. Trucks ferry loads of garbage and debris and dump on the embankment of the lake. The combustible waste is set on fire, and the rest is simply shoved into the lake.

Over the last one month, hundreds of truckloads of garbage were dumped on the embankment. Local residents objected, but were bullied into silence by the garbage contractors.

Uttarahalli ward corporator Ramesh Raju is aware of the dumping of garbage on the embankment of the lake, but defends the act.

“Dumping of waste should not be seen as encroachment of lake. In fact, we are creating a platform to segregate waste. Tonnes of garbage are lying across the ward and we have no space for segregation.”

Till five years ago, the lake was home to turtles, fish and a variety of birds.
But with sewage let directly into it, the lake now stinks and is choked with weeds. Slums have further reduced the expanse of the water body.

The Karnataka Slum Development Board, which in 2009 was entrusted with building houses for slum-dwellers near the Lake within a year, is yet to complete the project.
About a year ago, the BBMP began fencing the lake, but stopped work under political pressure.

Now, the lake is in the custody of the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), which has done precious little to protect the lake.

Leo Saldanha of Environment Support Group said he had lodged a complaint with the State government, the BBMP and the KSPCB but to no avail.

Mayor D Venkatesh Murthy told Deccan Herald that dumping garbage in lakes was an illegal act and would invite stringent action.

“Some TV grabs showed that Kaggadasapura Lake is facing a similar problem. We have taken note of it and have stopped all such illegal activities. We will not let our lakes die,” he said.

A few days ago, the Bangalore Metropolitan Task Force (BMTF) arrested a person who was dumping garbage and the debris into the Vaderahalli Lake and seized a truck.

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