Dense green waters lap the shores of the Ambattur Lake in Chennai. Spread across 400 acres, the lake is a major source of water for the city of Chennai. But activists now allege that Ambattur Lake is polluted, with sewage and waste being dumped into the waterbody.
Arappor Iyakkam, a non-government organization which works for social causes, conducted a survey and found that sewage from residential areas flows directly into the lake, polluting it.
“From the streets near the Stedeford hospital, the drainage travels about a kilometre to reach the lake. There are about 3000 residents in that area. The drainage system is not proper because of which, drainage flows into the lake,” Harris, a member of Arappor Iyakkam told TNM.
While sewage is illegally pumped into the lake from neighbourhoods such as Sathyapuram and Nehru Nagar, the toxic sludge pours out into other surrounding areas like MKB Nagar, Sivananda Nagar and Samthariya Nagar, which are also polluted.
And although the activist admits that the pollution in the lake has been unchecked for years, the NGO intends to submit a report to the Public Works Department and demand that action be taken.
The only way to stop the lake from getting polluted is by fixing sewage system in the area, points out Harris. “The government should conduct desilting of the lake and also stop the sewage flowing into the lake from residential areas. After this is done, the rainwater will slowly reduce the drainage in the lake,” said Harris.
The Hindu reported that the lake was last cleaned three years ago and that water hyacinths cover one-third of the lake.
Subburaj, a resident in Ambattur observes that the size of the lake has reduced from 600 acres to 400 acres and blame the polluted lake for water scarcity in the area, stating that groundwater level has reduced over the years. “Other than this, there is a stink all around the lake. Many residents throw the waste into the lake which is also a major problem,” he notes.