Saturday, October 24, 2009

‘Bangalore is a city of lakes...’

‘Bangalore is a city of lakes...’
Dr U V Singh, Chief Conservator of Forests, Lake Development Authority (LDA), explains how the beautification of lakes is beneficial for citizens and how lakes keep the city cool, in this chat with Leena Mudbidri

Lakes in the city are being restored and beautified. How can citizens make the most of them?
Lakes and water bodies are known to be wonderful regulators of temperature. The lakes in the city are being developed with walkways and benches for citizens who want to relax or go for their morning or evening walks. The air around the lakes is healthy with presence of ozone and fresh oxygen from the shrubs and vegetation growing around the periphery of these lakes. It is also soothing to watch the migratory birds visiting the lake and the fresh greenery growing around. The best example of public utilisation of lakes can be seen at Ulsoor, Agara and Sankey lakes where residents from the vicinity visit the lakes on weekends or for their walks.
How do lakes contribute to maintaining the ecological balance in Bangalore?
Bangalore is still the 'city of lakes' and this is one of the reasons why this city is fairly cool even during summer. The lakes regulate the temperature and absorb heat, keeping the surroundings cooler. Vegetation around the lakes and the floating weeds on the surface of the water are fast-growing and have immense properties to absorb carbon dioxide and give out oxygen. Removal of these weeds twice a year will promote fresh growth and hence more absorption of heat. With more water bodies, the humidity too will increase and cause rain which will recharge the ground water levels to a great extent.
How can the public contribute to maintaining these water bodies?
It is very clear that more apartments are coming up around lakes in the city. Not only do people want a scenic view from their homes, the areas around also remain cool. Developers of these residential units should have proper planning prior to construction, to have large tree covers instead of only having landscaped lawns within the apartment complexes. Both, the lake and trees can create a healthy and natural environment. Also, people should refrain from concreting the open spaces in their compounds. This restricts the rainwater from seeping into the ground and recharging the ground water table. At least 400 million litres of water supply daily to the city comes from recharged ground water.


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