NGT lambasts the Karnataka government for it’s cloudburst theory justifying Bellandur lake froth

As reported by India Today, a special commission that has been set up by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to inspect Bengaluru’s lakes slammed the Karnataka government saying that it had ‘miserably failed to discharge their obligations to the society and their duties.’

The commission stated that due to sheer callousness and disdain of the authorities the biggest and the most beautiful lake in the city has turned into a septic tank of the city.

The report submitted by the commission mentioned that according to material collected, the water holding capacity of the Bellandur Lake has rapidly shrunk due to the random dumping of construction and demolishing waste, municipal solid waste and due to the vast spread of hydrophytes and microphytes in the waters.

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Members of the commission also noticed during an inspection that the “Storm Water Drain outlets near the lake were discharging nothing but sewage and effluents and the same was being released into the lake”.

The report also states the commission was shocked to find a road that was constructed in the Varthur lake by dumping C&D waste under the pretext of laying a pipeline. The commission said that the directions of the National Green Tribunal have not been followed in “letter and spirit”.

Sridhar Pabbisetty, CEO, Namma Bengaluru Foundation, says this report only reiterates that the state government is not serious about the Bellandur problem. “They have only been toying around with futile exercises and that too in a demeaning way,” Sridhar said.

National Green Tribunal, last year had pulled up the state government and several agencies involved — BDA, LDA, KSPCB, blaming them for not stopping sewage discharge into the lake, it also pulled up Karnataka law department and other officials for failing to implement orders given by them to clean up Bellandur lake after last year’s fire incident. NGT had scathed both Karnataka Pollution Control Board report and the UD Additional Chief Secretary’s report for contradicting each other on the treatment of sewage and inquired which of the parties were lying.

The court took a suo motto case based on media reports on 20th February last year and had also issued notices to the Centre, state, the state pollution control board and the lake development authority in Karnataka.

Experts say that the froth increases whenever there is excess sewage inflow into the lake and rain aggravate the situation. The residents blame that the froth spilling over to the road near the lake blind the motorists and causes accidents.

The summer of 2015 was the first time the lake caught fire. This was soon followed by a phenomenon of froth formation, which is perhaps the main cause of concern for the city’s residents. The effluents in the water generate a foam-like substance in the air whenever a fire takes place and the toxicity of this substance leads to several skin allergies, respiratory and other health-related problems, besides its disgusting stench. Since then this lake has repeatedly gripped the city in horror.

Spread across 906 acres, Bellandur Lake is the biggest and one of the oldest bodies of water in India’s Garden City. A few decades ago, the lake was the lifeline for several villages surrounding it. People used it to grow vegetables, cultivate paddy, for drinking and irrigation, as well as to indulge in pursuits, such as boating, fishing, and picnics. But today, the lake is nothing but a cesspool of sewage and a receptor for more than 70 million gallons of sewage per day. And, this contaminated water further flows into Varthur Lake, joining Pennar River.

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