The recent data published by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) on the quality of water in our lakes mirrors the sustainability crisis confronting our city. The board, which surveyed over 50 lakes, found they had either no water or their water quality index was unsatisfactory.
Of the lakes which had water, many were in the lowest Class “D” and “E” categories. For a city that once boasted of a 1000 lakes, this probably is a wake-up call it cannot afford to ignore. Poor planning, rampant encroachment and runaway corruption has resulted in this ghastly state of affairs.
Unless we stop treating our lakes as dumping grounds, we will continue to contaminate our underground aquifers and endanger our open wells and borewells.
But sadly, even with the addition of four new sewage treatment plants (STPs) of 136 million litres a day capacity, the city will be able to treat only 69 per cent of the sewage it generates. The rest will continue to end up in the lakes, flowing through the storm water drains that were originally meant to carry only rain water.
While on paper we look like the second best managed city in the country, any attempt to visit any of its sewage treatment plants will leave you shattered.
Although BWSSB officials declare that all the STPs are open to the public, the reality is only a few of these plants even allow you to take photographs or samples of the treated water for third party analysis What we clearly need to do is improve our water literacy and the best way to start might be by getting our open well and borewell water tested....