Hyderabad: The National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) Southern Bench, on Wednesday, came down heavily on the state government for suppressing facts, pertaining to the Hussainsagar.
The court has said that they would now constitute a committee comprising, a member of the Central Pollution Control Board, (CPCB), Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad (IIT-H), Ministry of Environment and Forest (MOEF), State PCB and the National Institute of Hydrology. The members of the committee would take up studies and research the quality of water in the lake. The court has posted the next hearing to April 8.
The bench, which was hearing the Hussainsagar restoration case, asked the government why there was no heavy metal analysis in the reports presented to it. The courts also noted that it has been five years since the case was filed in the courts. They then went on to ask the government what action has been taken to restore the lake to its former condition.
“Why is there pollution in the lake? If the government is taking all the measures it can to prevent further pollution, why is the water quality so poor? Also, why does the government's report not have any heavy metal analysis? The court had asked the government's lawyer,” said the petitioner who was formerly a part of Save Our Urban Lakes (SOUL).
Incidentally, a report published by IIT Hyderabad, in June last year says: 'Lake contamination by anthropogenic activities has become a serious threat to the aquatic ecosystem due to the presence of a high concentration of toxic heavy metals. In this study, the Hussainsagar lake was assessed for toxic heavy metal pollutants at sites associated with industrial discharges and idol immersion activities. The observed high concentration of Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead, Zinc, Copper and Nickel in the surface water was due to industrial effluent discharge. About 1.5 times the high concentration of the same elements was observed in surface sediments (0-10 cm) by both industrial discharges and idol immersion activities, compared to deep sediments (0-40 cm) associated only with industrial discharge.'
Even worse, the water quality of the lake has been downgraded from category D to category E, which means that the water can only be used for irrigation, industrial cooling, and controlled disposal.
Also, the Dissolved Oxygen (DO) levels in the lake have been on a downward spiral, since October, 2019.
“If the dissolved oxygen is high then aquatic life can be sustained. But, if it is low then there are chances that we might see dead fish floating to the surface by March or April,” said B V Subba Rao, a water quality expert....