Monday, August 20, 2007

The case of the vanishing lakes

The case of the vanishing lakes
Madhuri C M
Where have all the Bangalore lakes gone? This is the question most Bangaloreans are asking. And the existing ones are in danger of vanishing, thanks to large scale urbanisation which has rendered some ...

Where have all the Bangalore lakes gone? This is the question most Bangaloreans are asking. And the existing ones are in danger of vanishing, thanks to large scale urbanisation which has rendered some lakes dry while some others have been turned into pits for effluents and sewage.
Renuka, an old Bangalorean said, “When we were young, some of the lakes were such wonderful picnic spots. It was a lovely sight to see children playing in the Vrushabhavati river when we travelled to Mysore way back in 1960s.
“But now, Vrushabhavati looks is a sewage drain. Our children don’t believe us when we tell them about the river’s past glory.”
That probably sums up the present state of Bangalore’s water bodies in general and lakes, tanks and kalyanis in particular. There are some 2,789 large, medium and small lakes within Bangalore Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (BMRDA) limits of which over 608 are reportedly within Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) limits.
After former Bangalore City Corporation administrator Lakshman Rau submitted his report on the status of lakes in Bangalore, the Government had handed over 114 lakes to the Forest Department for restoration and protection. Many lakes were lost due to encroachment by land sharks or have shrunk because of waste being dumped on their periphery.
Studies on lakes
According to a report of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), apart from industrial effluents and untreated domestic waste, effluents from unsewered areas in the City are posing grave threat to many existing lakes.
The only lakes which seem to be free from effluents are Ulsoor, KR Puram, Yellanallappa and Nagawara lakes. However, they are being polluted due to inflow of sewage from illegal dwellings. The Palace Lake looks like a pond as construction waste has been dumped around it.
“Unless strict sanitary watershed management is practiced, no lake can survive and citizens of Bangalore have completely failed in protecting the City’s water bodies,” stated A N Yellappa Reddy, environmentalist and former secretary, Department of Ecology and Environment.
The KSPCB study has also revealed that the dissolved oxygen content of the City’s lakes has gone below the desired level of 4mg/lit due to organic pollution.
This in turn is affecting aquatic life. Mosquito breeding is causing health hazards, growth of water hyacinth and other weeds have cut off sunlight to lakes, affecting photosynthesis, say environmentalists. “This has led to bio-magnification and remedy will take a long time. The increase in inorganic nutrient content of water bodies has caused an imbalanced ecosystem,” cautioned Yellappa Reddy.
The above scenario clearly reflects the findings of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment prepared by 1,200 scientists after a four-year study. They have identified the last five decades as an ‘era of destruction’ because during this time, people have changed the ecosystem more rapidly than in any comparable period in history.
Generating funds is the major deterrent in restoring lakes. “A lake about the size of 25 hectares requires nearly Rs one crore for restoration,” said an official at the Lake Development Authority (LDA).
“Financial constriants make it impossible for the LDA to restore all lakes. Citizens, corporate houses and organisations must come forward to adopt lakes and develop them,” he added.
“Bangaloreans are environment conscious and they have much concern towards the City’s water bodies. We are developing a lake in Whitefield at an estimated cost of Rs 30 lakhs in association with a residents’ organisation,” said Deputy Conservator of Forests Vanishree Vipin Singh.
About 25 lakes have been developed by various departments such as the LDA, Forest Department, BDA and BBMP under various programmes, she added.
“Awareness must be created among children about such issues because it is their future which is at stake,” added Yellappa Reddy. Although the situation is grave, all is not lost yet, said environmentalists. “Mother Nature needs a helping hand to protect us,” said Reddy.
What you can do
We all have a responsibility to protect and conserve urban lakes and as citizens, everyone can help keep lakes healthy. Here are some things you can do:
Buy organic and locally-grown produce, recycle and pre-cycle products, landscape gardens with native plants and get involved in activities concerning your neighbourhood. Nothing helps the environment more than a group of concerned citizens coming together. Share your concern for the lakes with your friends, neighbours and co-workers. Take some time out to write a letter to your favourite newspaper or your elected representative and let them know that you, as a community, want their help to save lakes.
Environmentalists have faced threats from vested interests who have encroached upon some lakes, but they have stood their ground. “As long as you are not hand-in-glove with the party, you can counter them,” said an LDA official. “After all, you are fighting for a good cause,” he said.


At Tuesday, January 13, 2009 at 9:38:00 AM GMT+5:30, Blogger Unknown said...

My name is S. Gopal. I stay in Marathhalli. I wish to contact environmentalist Dr.A. N. Yellappa Reddy in connection with the cleaning up of the Chinnapanahalli Lake. Can you kindly give me his contact telephone number, if you have the same?
Thanks in advance.

At Tuesday, July 14, 2009 at 1:50:00 PM GMT+5:30, Blogger Unknown said...

Hope you have received the details of Yellappa Reddy . Or please write to me on



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