Huge clouds of white, toxic foam floating up onto the roads is a common occurrence that people have got used to at Bellandur Lake.
Every once in a while though, the situation does get worse there. On Thursday evening, a part of the lake caught fire, with fumes spreading across Sun City Apartments and the nearby Iblur flyover.
According to locals at the spot, illegal dumping of debris has been a common occurrence near the lake. The debris that is dumped near the lake is set on fire, and this set a part of the lake ablaze at around 5.50 pm, eyewitnesses said.
According to Diana, the secretary of the residents’ association in Sun City, “Some debris was being burnt near the lake. The lake is covered with weeds, which is dried up and caught fire easily. The fumes have reached till Iblur flyover.”
An ambulance was called in to attend to the emergency situation, after the fumes spread to Sun City, in case any residents developed asphyxiation, a traffic police official at the spot said. However, Diana said, there had been no reports of any persons being affected by the fumes.
Meanwhile, firemen from the Sarjapur Road Fire Department rushed to the spot after receiving a call at around 6pm regarding the fire.
“Five firefighters and three officers from the Fire Station took off immediately. They are still dousing the flames. The cause of the fire cannot be determined until after the fire is doused,” said an official at the Sarjapur Road Fire station.
A BBMP official at the Bellandur ward office said that the toxic materials accumulated in the lake may have cause it to catch fire easily.
“Bellandur Lake has no water. There is a lot of weed growth and in addition sewage and debris end up in the lake. The Bengaluru Development Authority had taken up the initiative to restore the lake in January this year but so far no work had started,” the ward officer said.
This is not the first time that the Bellandur lake has caught fire.
On May 16, 2015, yellowish flames had emerged from the toxic froth, which had built up for over a week, near the Yemlur side of the Bellandur lake.
Puzzled by the spontaneous combustion, the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board’s regional authorities had inspected the site and found that the methane build-up on the surface of the lake had led to the fire.
The froth had formed due to chemical deposits from detergents and cleaners, which had flown into the lake from the sewage pipes. The highly combustible methane gas had accumulated in one area of the lake and had caught fire.