No smoke without fire

No smoke without fire

While the exact cause of the recent fire at Bellandur Lake is yet to be ascertained, environmentalists and citizens feel that the need of the hour is to treat the sewage water that is being let into the water body and ensure that industries don't let out toxic waste into it.

Environmentalists point out that the callous attitude of the government has led to the deterioration of the Bellandur Lake and many other lakes in the city. Dr T V Ramachandra from Indian Institute of Science, says that he and his team had studied 193 water bodies in Bengaluru. "Our study shows that 98 percent of the water bodies are encroached and 92 percent receive untreated sewage and industrial effluents. Our study has also shown that vegetables being grown around Varthur Lake have the presence of heavy metal and even the fish is contaminated with a heavy amount of metal. The samples of Pudina and Spinach that we examined were all highly toxic, thanks to the contamination of lakes," he says.

He further points out that rejuvenation and regular maintenance of water bodies, involving de-silting to enhance the storage capacity and increase the recharge potential must be done on a regular basis.
"The authorities must prevent people from dumping garbage into lakes and stormwater drains and all the encroachments around the lakes and lake beds must be removed on an immediate basis," he adds.

What's lacking among people is water literacy, says Arun Krishnamurthy, founder Environmentalist Foundation of India.

"The unregulated increase in the number of borewells has led to the increased consumption of water. We use more water in our homes and to flush toilets than necessary. Instead of working towards preserving and retaining ground water, we are literally abusing fresh water. This must stop," says Arun.

He feels treatment of sewage water before letting it into the lakes and stopping encroachment around storm water drains has to be taken up on a war-footing. Ordinary citizens of resident welfare associations across the city have also contributed their bit towards rejuvenating the lakes in their vicinity.

Prabhakar Rao, a consultant and resident of   J P Nagar was a part of the group that volunteered to revitalise the Puttenahalli Lake.

"One should get to the root of the problem. More than government intervention, I think we should have an independent body (free of all political influences) to monitor, regulate and maintain the lakes in the city. Encroachments around lakes and dumping garbage on the periphery must be stopped," he says.

Sudarshan H S, a resident of Jayanagar, feels the current system prevents agencies that are
responsible for lake rejuvenation from doing their job.

"You see roads being tarred and pavements being laid with an eye on the forthcoming Assembly polls but saving and reviving the lakes don't seem to be a priority for the government. Why? People need lakes. Then what is preventing government officials from according top priority to these lakes," wonders Sudarshan.

 

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