Activists from Hyderabad have informed the National Green Tribunal (NGT) that toxic foam and encroachments along with large-scale dumping of waste were threatening the city's Hussain Sagar lake. During a hearing on the matter on July 1 at the NGT bench in Chennai, where the tribunal's New Delhi bench also joined through video conferencing, activists raised several points about the degradation of the water body in the heart of the city.
The tribunal was hearing a petition that sought orders to be issued to the Telangana government, to take action and clean up the lake. â€śToxic froth has spread across the inflow channels and outflow channels of Hussain Sagar. The foams are right at the door of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation's (GHMC) head office, where the second outflow channel is situated," activist Lubna Sarwath said in a press release.
Built in 1563, under the rule of Ibrahim Quli Qutub Shah, Hussain Sagar is an artificial lake, which is fed by canals from the Musi river. Built over 1,600 hectares, it now stands at a pitiful 4.4 sq km and has turned into a stagnant mess.
Lubna also pointed out that the water level in the lake has currently reached 513.34 metres, that is just 0.07 metres below its Full Tank Level (FTL) of 513.41 metres, and attributed this to a large amount of solid waste present in the water.
"Due to huge waste dumps, landfills inside the lake and at the inflow channels of the lake and due to lowering of the weir, not to mention the huge quantum of toxic silt inside the lake, the holding capacity has been severely compromised," stated the activist, who is also a part of Save Our Urban Lakes (SOUL), a citizensâ€™ initiative for saving waterbodies of the city.
A survey by SOUL also found huge constructions "inside the Hussain Sagar, adding up to all its existing encroachments, which restricted the lake and confined it to a mere 450 hectares, as per GHMC's figures to NGT."
"The government of Telangana and the administration in charge of this lake did not implement the law, did not uphold their constitutional duty towards the protection of this lake, did not do application of mind, did dereliction of duty, did omissions and commissions not in good faith," Lubna alleged.
The activists demanded a detailed action plan from the government, which would include a plan to tackle encroachments and pollutants from entering the water body.
The next hearing by an NGT bench for the case would be in August.