Absence of sewage treatment plants (STPs) in most lakes is one of the main reasons for untreated sewage and effluents entering the water bodies in the City. Varthur, Yamalur and Bellandur Amani lakes have been witnessing phenomena like formation of foam and lake water catching fire due to the presence of methane and oils.
Civic agencies, for their part, are passing the buck for not being able to prevent the pollutants from entering the lakes. An official in the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) insisted that it was unfair to blame the board for pollution of the lakes as it still didn’t have the jurisdiction of these water bodies.
According to the official, formation of foam and fire in the lake water are caused by the presence of effluents from many industries, which the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) has failed to monitor. There are many chemical-washing garment industries near Somasundarapalya, which directly let effluents into the storm water drains leading to the Bellandur lake.
Vaman Acharya, chairman of the KSPCB, however, maintains that he has visited the Varthur and Yamalur lakes but didn’t find any industry letting effluents into the water bodies. “There are a total of 14 industries, including seven units of HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) and one of NAL (National Aerospace Laboratories). Six other industries have a closed loop system in place and don’t let any effluent into the lakes,” he claimed.
He stressed that fire in the lake was caused by the methane content, and foam was formed by the detergent and the untreated sewage let out by households in the vicinity. There are, however, some garages and other smaller shops which let pollutants into the lake, he added.
According to Acharya, civic agencies like the BDA and the BBMP, which own the lakes, should have taken steps to protect the water bodies.
There is no point filing criminal complaints and dragging one agency or the other to court as that will not solve the problem. Each agency must play a role in protecting the lakes, he said.
The BWSSB is setting up STPs at 11 locations near the lakes, which are expected to be commission only in 2016. At the Bellandur Amani lake, an STP of 90 million litres per day (MLD) capacity will be set up. Raja canal will get an STP of 40 MLD capacity, Horamavu Agara 20 MLD, Kengeri, Koramangala and Challaghatta Valley 60 MLD each, Nagasandra and Doddabele 20 MLD each, Yellamallappachetty 15 MLD, Kadugodi six MLD, Chikkabanavara five MLD and Kachohalli three MLD.