Bengaluru: Once the main source of drinking water for people in the area, the Bellandur Lake is now so polluted that it is spewing a smelly white froth that spills on to its surroundings, making the lives of the locals miserable.
While Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has allocated funds in his latest budget for reviving both the Varthur and Bellandur lakes, it could be a long haul before they are restored as they are heavily polluted and showing it with the foamy mess covering their surface.
Principal of K.K. High School M. A. Khan and his students, who have been monitoring the Bellandur lake water quality for the last two decades, confirm that it has gone from bad to worse.
“Going by our survey, kidney problems, skin diseases and epilepsy have increased drastically among people in the area due to the froth from the lake and the use of lake water for agriculture and growing of fodder for animals,” says Mr Khan.
Members of the civic group, Whitefield Rising and locals blame the effluents let by garment industries into the lake and the indiscriminate discharge of untreated sewage into it from apartments nearby for the toxic chemicals filling its water and destroying it.
“Garment industries that use chemical washes let their untreated effluent into the lake. Also, tankers from Bommanahalli and surrounding areas dump more effluents into it, killing its aquatic life and enhancing the toxicity of its water,” says Mr Elangovan, a member of Whitefield Rising, lamenting that ever since work began on rejuvenating lakes upstream of Bellandur and Varthur, the sewage has been diverted downstream and into them, polluting them even more. “Detergents and cleaning agents have high phosphorous content and this is causing the lakes to froth,” he explains, emphasising that the BWSSB and Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) must ensure that sewage from upstream of the lakes is treated before it is let into these lakes.
“The lakes must be desilted regularly and hyacinth and weeds removed. Their aquatic life should be encouraged by maintaining the Dissolved Oxygen (DO) level of their water. Also, its important that sewage treatment plants (STPs) are set up immediately,” he says. Having lived with the stink and pollution of the lakes for years, The locals are looking forward to the government’s plans to revive them. One resident, Muniyellappa recalls that Bellandur lake once attracted migratory birds and children swam in it to beat the heat. “But today we don’t see any of this as the water is heavily polluted. In just over a decade, apartments have mushroomed in the area and they are letting their sewage directly let into the lake without treating it. Untreated sewage from the rest of the city too is let into the lake,” he regrets.
Fed up with the condition of the lakes, Ms Shakuntala, a home- maker in the area, demands, “Aren't we human? Don’t we deserve a good quality of life like anybody else? But today we cannot do without mosquito repellants and room freshners. When will things change?”...