The central government has decided to provide Rs. 800 crore as assistance to Bengaluru for cleaning its lakes. Bengaluru which was once known for its interconnected lake systems which provided a reliable source of water has seen major issues with the lakes in past few years.
Speaking on the issue of pollution of lakes in Bengaluru, Mr. Prakash Javadekar, Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, said that his Ministry has issued directions under section 5 and section 18 of Environment Protection Act on pollution of lakes in Bengaluru.
Funds allocated for Bengaluru lakes:
The Minister said that the Centre has extended an assistance of Rs. 800 crore under AMRUT scheme for cleaning up the lakes in Bengaluru. Out of this, Rs. 500 crore is for laying down a 74 kms trunk sewage pipeline.
He also said that Rs 162 crore have been provided to construct 4 Sewage Treatment Plant (STPs) in Bellandur lake. The Minister stated that 1280 MLDs of sewage is generated per day in Bengaluru, while the capacity to treat sewage is 721 MLD.
Out of this, 600 MLD of sewage is actually treated. He also pointed out that of the 520 STPs, 137 STPs are non-functional.
Problems of Bengaluru lakes:
As Bengaluru grew in unplanned way these lakes became polluted by chemicals (like nitrates, potassium and sulphates) and sewage. The pollution creates a harmful snowy froth, which floats up from the city's largest lake and spills over into surrounding areas.
The situation is so bad for Bellandur Lake that this lake now carries huge volumes of snowy froth into the adjacent canals and blocks them too. The situation worsens after a round of rain when the froth from the canal rises and spills on the roads. This causes trouble for two wheeler riders.
The froth smells really bad and causes irritation if comes in contact with the skin. On windy days this froth enters houses of people who live around the lakes. Bellandur Lake has caught fire twice due to the waste like detergent, oil and grease that has got mixed with lake water.
Despite complaints from many residents little has been done to free Bengaluru lakes from the pollution.
Varthur Lake collects maximum amount of sewage water most of which is untreated. This lake too has once caught fire and the froth of the lake contains bubbles which on bursting forms mist in the air.
These chemical particles in the mist may be toxic in nature and when it comes in contact with the skin surface or nasal passage it causes irritation.
Analysis of the remnants after the fire in Varthur Lake it was found that there were traces of oil, grease and other flammable materials. These things facilitated the spreading of fire.
Karnataka State Pollution Control Board officers say that effluents from industries which are situated near the lake had led to a buildup of combustible methane gas, causing the fire.
The Ulsoor Lake in Bengaluru too isn't untouched by the pollution. On the 7th of March this year thousands of dead fish washed ashore. People living in surrounding area of the lake were left to bear the unbearable stink of the decaying fish and an ugly sight.
The sight at Ulsoor Lake scared the city dwellers as it is one of the last lake that has water in a water starved city. Most of the hundreds of lakes which worked as water reservoirs for Bengaluru have been drained out and used to build buildings or have been made dumping ground in last few decades.