Bengaluru: Finding no merit in the government’ s move to revive the frothing Bellandur and Varthur lakes with the help of foreign firms at a cost of hundreds of crores, water expert and coordinator of the Energy and Wetlands Research Group at the Indian Institute of Science, Dr T V Ramachandra believes all that it needs to do is replicate the successful Jakkur lake revival model, which is not heavy on the pockets either.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a panel discussion on the BWSSB’s new rule making it mandatory for complexes with 20 and more apartments to have their own sewage treatment plants, he said it was wrong to assume that everything foreign was superior. “ When we have the capability of doing the job ourselves why do we need to hand it over to foreign firms?" he asked.
Recalling that about a decade ago, in 2005, Jakkur lake was highly polluted and borewells around it had high levels of nitrate, making their water unfit for drinking, he pointed out that it was revived by his team using a few simple steps . The sewage entering the lake was first subjected to primary and secondary treatment at the STP at Jakkur, and was then passed through a man-made 'constructed wetland' consisting of different types of grass and plants to remove most of the chemical ions. It then went through an algae pound that removed 90 percent of the nitrates and phosphates before entering the lake, he explained
“The samples collected from nearby borewells after this treatment revealed that the water was free from nitrates and heavy metals,” he added, suggesting that the same process could help the Bellandur and Varthur lakes as well.
‘Decentralise sewage treatment’
Meanwhile, at the panel discussion on the BWSSB notification, Mr Nanda Kumar, a former chief environmental officer of the KSPCB, strongly supported the rule making it essential for 20 and more apartments to have their own STP and said it was progressive.
Dr T V Ramachandra too welcomed the BWSSB move and said that treatment of sewage should be decentralised. But slamming the BWSSB, Dr Ananth Kodavasal, a waste management expert, regretted that unlike in the West the public wasn't consulted here before introducing rules with far reaching implications....