The fire died down after a few hours.

Bellandur Lake catches fire again residents claim it happens everyday now
news Environment Sunday, May 07, 2017 - 19:23

Bellandur Lake is on fire again! Just as the clean-up drive was picking up pace, the lake caught fire on Sunday afternoon.

At around 2.15 pm on Sunday, residents of Sanctity City Apartments in Bellandur noticed thick fumes coming from the lake.

Concerned residents immediately called the fire department and informed them of the incident.

The fire department, however, did not show up.

“The fire was right in the middle of the lake. We do not have equipment to deal with such fires. It usually goes down after a few hours,” said an official at the fire station’s control room.

“The fire was not near the Bellandur Road but near Belur Nagasandra. It was on the other side and we couldn’t do much either. Luckily, it started raining when the fumes had almost died and it did not spread,” said Seema, a Bellandur resident who informed the fire station of the incident.

Residents allege that the lake catches fire almost on a daily basis.

“The previous fire was the biggest we have seen. The one which happened today (Sunday) comes seconod. But almost every day the lake catches fire and now it has become a common occurrence for people living here,” Seema added.

According to an official at the Sarjapur Road Fire Station, at around 5.15 pm on May 5, they had received a call from Bellandur residents about a fire in the lake.

“We had dispatched a team to the spot and it took two hours to douse the flames. This keeps happening all the time. It the froth and the chemicals are causing the fire,” the official added.

Bellandur Lake is the largest of the 262 lakes and tanks in Bengaluru. It receives about 40% of the city's sewage, according to the Karnataka Lake Development Authority. The lake has caught fire several times in the past, including in May 2015 and August 2016, when froth caught fire due to formation of flammable methane gas.

The lake had caught fire on February 16, which had triggered the ire of residents and activists. Following this, on April 19, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had come down heavily on the civic agencies including the BBMP, BDA, BWSSB, Karnataka State Lake Development Authority and the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board for failing to clean up the lake.

The Tribunal’s strict orders had authorities scrambling to get the work done and the weeding process is still on.

On May 4, the KSPCB had also issued closure notices to 488 industries, which were polluting the lake and may even crackdown on more once the agency obtains clarity on the lake’s catchment area. While NGT is yet to give clarity on the buffer zone, KPCB officials note that if the entire catchment area is taken into consideration, it will form 40% of Bengaluru and more industries may shut down.

Meanwhile, the clean-up drive is not yet over and the civic agencies have only six more months to ensure that it is free of effluents.

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