Thursday, March 24, 2005

Lake wardens’ crusade against pollution in the lakes

Lake wardens’ crusade against pollution in the lakes
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: Just when Bangalore’s lakes are heading towards a fall from grace, lake wardens are all set to rejuvenate them. The Lake Development Authority (LDA) has appointed four wardens to head the four zones to put a stop to illegal activities and ensure that the water bodies survive.

Wardens Kiran Kumar, S.K Raju, Sharath Babu R. and Anu Chengappa posted for North, East, West and South zones respectively are eager to rake up any issue to manage the lakes effectively.

Sharath Babu told this website’s newspaper that he is very excited to keep an eye on the shrinking city lakes. ‘‘You do not require a penchant for conservation to be a lake warden. Just the soul to fight for certain things will do.’’

He has been working with the NGO, People for Animals (PfA) for the past seven years. He says, he got into lake conservation only by chance.

‘‘It was over a wildlife agitation movement that a district conservator of forests asked me if I would be interested in being a warden. I decided to grab it,’’ he recalls.

Lakes, according to him, are essential to maintain the ecological balance as they are a source of food for birds. The greenery around these lakes are their possible breeding grounds.

S.K. Raju, warden of the East zone agrees. ‘‘Apart from the entertainment that lakes provide for citizens, it adds on value to the city and makes it seem more responsible,’’ Raju said.

Saving catchment areas from encroachment will be the difficult bit. But Kiran Kumar of Green Cross, who is in charge of Bangalore North has declared war against encroachers. ‘‘The only message I send to people is that I need their help to conserve lakes,’’ he said.

Anu Chengappa, a practicing advocate and a faculty of University Law College teaching environmental law threatens to sue ‘‘miserable polluters.’’ ‘‘I am interested in the legal aspects of saving a lake. Becoming a warden was coincidental, I was recommended by one of my students who was working with the LDA on a project. It is an appropriate job for me as I can assign my students to cover various lakes in quick time and make surprise inspections myself. But it will be a challenge and I hope to live up to it.”

The lake-heroes also promised to crusade against ‘cold plastic’, ‘sewer-shiver’ and ‘earth-eaters’ of the city, which once boasted of 108 lakes.


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