Lake that slaked residents' thirst is now a toxic cesspool

Leachate flowing with rain water contaminates Mavallipura's lifeline

Lake that slaked residents' thirst is now a toxic cesspool

Good rains after two years of drought are always a welcome proposition, but not for the residents of Mavallipura as the showers have only brought miseries to them.

Reason: Highly toxic leachate continue to flow from the mountains of garbage from the landfill here into the lake, which used to be the lifeline of the village till a decade ago.

The BBMP’s measures to get rid of the garbage heap did not yield much result. The decade-long struggle by the Mavallipura residents ensured the closure of the landfill a year ago. Yet, this did not end their woes.

For the Palike, dumping garbage in the landfills on the outskirts of the City was the only solution to tackle the 4,000 tonnes of waste generated daily. Mavallipura was one of the three major landfills in the City, the other two being Mandur and Terra Firma on Doddaballapur Road.

When the Mavallipura landfill was operational, at least 1,000 tonnes of waste from the City used to go to this dumping yard. The landfill operator, Ramky Environ Engineers, used to process a portion of the garbage and send the remaining filth to the landfill. As a result, mountains of garbage piled up there.

Biomining

According to BBMP officials, there is a pile-up of six lakh tonnes of waste, while local residents claim that the heap is not less than 20 lakh tonnes. The Palike intends to bio-mine the mountain of garbage, but it will cost a fortune.

H C Ananthaswamy, BBMP chief engineer (solid waste management), said, “We may require about Rs eight crore to Rs 10 crore to biomine the garbage pile. We have taken various measures to improve the conditions there.”

However, the biomining process has not yet begun. As a temporary measure, the Palike covered the trash with earth with the hope that the waste material would decompose in the soil.

But the heavy downpour this year washed away the soil and exposed a good portion of the garbage heap. Rain water seeped into the garbage heap and flowed out in the form of leachate.

Effect on environment

The reeking lake water is now muddied. Due to high contamination, the lake does not have any aquatic creatures. Birds do not venture close to it, while cattle stay away from it.

Residents alleged that a cow in the village died on Monday after drinking the lake water. Srinivas, another Mavallipura resident, said, “Unless contamination is stopped, our miseries will not end.”

Although the toxic lake is contaminating the groundwater, too, the Palike was found sinking a borewell next to the lake early this week to supply “potable water” to the people.

The leachate flowing into the Mavallipura lake should bother all Bangaloreans as it is one of the catchment areas of the Hessaraghatta reservoir, from where water is supplied to a good portion of the City.

Chikkamuthappa, a village resident, said, “Excess water from the Mavallipura lake flows into the Shivakote and Aigantapura lakes, before flowing into the Hesaraghatta canal.”

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