Weeding begins at Bellandur lake

Weeding begins at Bellandur lake

Citizens passing by Bellandur lake on Monday were delighted to see weeding in progress.
Many agencies are scrambling to clean up the city’s largest lake, notorious for its toxic froth, in the wake of the National Green Tribunal setting a month’s deadline.

The Bangalore Development Authority started removing weeds four days after the tribunal called for an urgent clean-up of the 919-acre water body.

On the first day, workers cleared a 50-metre stretch on the Yamalur side. The weeding will pick up pace from Tuesday, according to BDA officials.

“JCBs are working on the banks now. From Tuesday, a special floating machine will get into the lake and start clearing the growth,” BDA engineer Veersingh Nayak said.

Members of an expert committee have asked the BDA to slow down the entry of sewage into the lake by building ramps at the inlets. They believe this will help control the frothing to some extent.
The suggestion first came from the committee when the lake had caught fire in February.

The BDA has agreed and said it had called for an expression of interest to execute the work. “The ramps and the fence are expected to stop froth from flying out. We are putting up close to 900 metres of a chain link fence and 30 metres of mesh around the lake,” Nayak said.

Members of Whitefield Rising and citizens around Whitefield are happy work has finally begun.

“The challenge is to sustain it. Weeds grow back quickly. Another challenge is to remove the stench from the lake,” said Sharachchandra Lele, Senior Fellow at the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment and member of the lake expert committee.

The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board on Monday closed three polluting industries in the vicinity of the Bellandur lake. Board chairman Lakshman said three small-scale silk dyeing units had been told to stop functioning.  The area has 488 industries and 159 apartment complexes.

“We have formed a 30-member committee to inspect each and every industry and apartment complex,” he said. Three units were closed on Monday and 10 more will follow suit on Tuesday, he told DH. “We have identified 13 industries, which will have to pay Rs 5 lakh each as penalty,” Lakshman said. The board started identifying polluting industries and apartment complexes following the National Green Tribunal’s order last Wednesday. Lakshman said the closure orders can be revoked. If the industries set up treatment plants and stop polluting the lake, the committee can allow them to open again. The committee has shortlisted 97 water-based industries and 15 apartment complexes to close down and penalise.

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