While BWSSB is diverting untreated sewage directly into Panathur Lake in JCR Layout, garbage is being dumped again in Varthur Lake by the BBMP.

With Bellandur under NGT scanner are Bengaluru civic bodies polluting other lakes
news Enviornment Wednesday, February 14, 2018 - 18:50

It appears that the civic authorities in Bengaluru, instead of working to make the city more sustainable, are doing exactly the opposite. If citizen activists are to be believed, the BBMP and the BWSSB are intentionally destroying two lakes simultaneously.

While the sewerage broad is diverting untreated sewage directly into Panathur Lake in JCR Layout, garbage is being dumped again in Varthur Lake by the BBMP.

Avijith, a resident of Kadubeesanahalli, JCR layout, said, “Work on the road leading to the lake started a month ago and we thought they were repairing the road. But then we saw that the road was dug up to let the sewage into the lake. Even worse, they have not even repaired the road and left some trees uprooted.”

Describing Panathur Lake as being in much better shape when compared to most lakes, Avijith said, “Birds still come to the lake. There are water lilies and even fishes. Since the lake is in a comparatively isolated area, it has not got much attention.”

 TNM had reported on February 8 that the BBMP was reportedly laying a road over the Pattandur Agrahara Lake in D’Silva Layout in Whitefield. Locals were alarmed when the BWSSB dug up roads and, within a day, diverted the storm water drain through which water flows into the lake.

This after the state government and civic bodies at the National Green Tribunal (NGT) talk about taking steps to rejuvenate the Bellandur and Varthur lakes. The green court had taken suo motu cognisance of the case when the Bellandur lake caught fire infamously for the second time in February 2017. Since then the state government has been asked to form a timebound framework to rejuvenate the lake.

Also read: Will Bengaluru run out of water and is it too late to save the city?

Right now none of the lakes in the city has water fit for drinking when once the city’s water needs were met by these man-made lakes.

Panathur compromised?

 "These seem like diversionary tactics to reduce the quantity of sewage flowing into Bellandur since the NGT is closely overlooking the proceedings. But in this process, they are compromising a good lake (Panathur),” Ramprasad, convenor of Friends of Lakes, an NGO working in the field of lake rejuvenation.

 “But this in turn will do more damage. This lake is an upper riparian and eventually, the lake will pollute other unpolluted water bodies, if any, before flowing into Bellandur,” Ramprasad added.

 All these lakes are connected, which worked in the city’s favour in storing rainwater throughout the year and in preventing floods in times of excessive rainfall.

"By these steps the authorities are ensuring that we don’t even use the 30 tmc that Bengaluru gets as a gift in the form of rainwater. Bengalureans will always have to live with the guilt of being a city which steals water from others,” Ramprasad said, adding that water meant for farmers in Mandya, Linganamakki is being diverted to Bengaluru.

While Panathur Lake is an upper riparian lake to Bellandur, Varthur receives its water (now sewage) from Bellandur.

Varthur woes

A local resident, a member of Whitefield Rising, said, “Three days ago I noticed that BBMP was dumping garbage into the stream from the village side. When I asked them, they said that they were just segregating the waste. But how can they segregate it after they have put into the stream already? It’s just a way to keep citizens silent.”

 

“But we are frustrated. There is a limit to what citizens can do if the authorities have other interests. This is not the first time that they are dumping garbage in Varthur, but that was directly into the lake. The same thing keeps happening… after every media report these things stop for a while but start again after some time,” she said.

“If the government is serious about reviving lakes, as it tells in the NGT, we would not have to see Bengaluru in the list of cities that are running out of water,” the activist added.

Speaking to TNM, Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority CEO Seema Garg denied knowledge of these incidents.

However, speaking generally on the issue of sewage flowing into lakes, she said, it was more of a compromise, “We can always prevent sewage from entering lakes by building concrete walls or keeping sandbags. We have done it in Agara Lake, but it will cause more immediate problems. When it rained last year, then all the sewage got mixed with lake water… it could have led to spread of diseases. The solution lies in decentralising STPs and by 2020 the BWSSB hopes to treat most of Bengaluru’s sewage.”

 

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