Lakes filled with garbage are a familiar story in Hyderabad. Thanks to public and civic apathy, these waterbodies that are vital lung spaces for the city are most often just choked with trash.
But, every once in a while, you find a group of caring Hyderabadis determined to save these lakes from their pitiable fate. On Tuesday, one such initiative kicked off, with the Telangana Special Protection Force, along with World Wildlife Fund for Nature, kicking off a clean-up of the Fox Sagar lake in Jeedimetla.
Nearly 60 college students and 48 trainees from the Forest Training Academy joined hands with Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation officials to carry out the three-day effort.
On the first day, they collected an astonishing two big dumpers and 400 bags worth of garbage, finding heaps of household waste, plastics and biomedical waste from the banks and the bed of the lake.
“The clean-up will continue for two more days. We filled up two big dumpers and over 400 bags of garbage was collected from the lake bed, which has become a free-for-all dumping site for nearby residents as well as industries,” Tejdeep Kaur Menon, Director General of TSSPF, told The Hindu.
In these piles, the team found a host of industrial waste like rubber tubes, electric cables, discarded netting, car insulation material and industrial waste dumped in the lake.
Tejdeep said that much of this was a result of bad waste management in the neighbourhood of Fox Sagar lake.
“The lack of solid waste management industries in Jeedimetla has resulted in 1500 industries of Jeedimetla Industrial Estate discharging chemical, industrial and domestic waste into the lake,” she writes on Facebook.
She adds that this is an incredible health hazard, since Fox Sagar functions as a drinking water source for people living in the area. “This discharge is dangerous to the life of Fox Sagar and the lives of the inhabitants nearby. This is the only drinking water source at the present for 8,000 families dependent on it. There is a need to set up a Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) at Fox Sagar for the families residing in the apartments and villas there,” she says.
Among her other suggestions for treating the lake are cleaning of inlets for free flow of rain water, ensuring clear separation of drainage and storm water outlets in the area, identifying and penalising people or agencies dumping chemical waste on the lake shore and in the water, and strict regulation of garbage disposal methods in the neighbourhood of the lake.