BENGALURU: Bellandur lake crisis is the tip of the iceberg. Of the 120 odd lakes in Bengaluru half of them, including Varthur, Byramangala, Yellamallappachetty, Sarakki, Madiwala, Chunchaghatta, Kalkere, Harikere and Dasarahalli lakes, to name a few are all in a badly polluted condition, say water activists.
Water conservation expert S. Vishwanath said, "Bellandur Lake is emitting foam and fire and is conveying that it is in danger. The condition of 120-odd lakes are almost the same, expect for no fire reported. Over 60 lakes are in a seriously polluted condition."
Giving reasons, Vishwanath said, "The main culprit is untreated sewage water being let into lakes by BWSSB." Adding to this are industrial effluents, which the KSPCB has totally failed to monitor.
Kshitij Urs, co-founder of People's Campaign for Right to Water said, "Had the government implemented the 2011 Justice N.K. Patil committee report on conservation of lakes, the situation would have been better."
He said the very way the government agencies look at lake rejuvenation is wrong. Lakes like Sankey tank and Ulsoor are devoid of natural ecology as they are merely concrete bowls holding water with iron fences, which shouldn't be the case.
"Priority is not given to lake rejuvenation. Simply talking about the problems without allocation resources to it will not solve any problem," he added.
Water expert and coordinator of energy and wetland research, IISc, Dr T.V. Ramachandra said, "Our study titled 'Wetlands: Treasures of Bangalore' surveyed 105 lakes in city. We found 90 per cent of the lakes are sewage fed and over 98 per cent are encroached upon."
What causes fire? Ramachandra said, "Sewage is rich in nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus, which feeds macrophyte growth. Under the lakes, anaerobic reaction takes place leading to accumulation of methane, which reacts with solid waste leading to fire during high temperature." Repeated calls and messages to KSPCB chairman Laxman and Ramakrishna S.M., Chief Engineer, Waste Water Management, BWSSB went unanswered.