Thursday, October 30, 2008

Authorities not sticking to deadlines

Authorities not sticking to deadlines

Bangalore: Though Bangalore’s lakes look pretty, the quality of water is fast deteriorating. Former environment secretary and conservationist, A N Yellappa Reddy tells The Times of India that most lakes are on the deathbed.
What is the condition of lakes today in the city?
I would say none of the lakes are being maintained. Even if they look pretty from outside with parks around, the quality of water is very bad. There is no strict vigil to prevent dumping of wastes. The poultry waste, slaughter waste, hospital waste, household waste, everything ends up in the lakes. Whenever it rains, the dirty water along with solid waste gets in to the storm water drains, which further leads to the lakes. People fail to understand that the lake is a living entity. There is rich biodiversity in the water. The aquatic eco-system has collapsed because of such waste contaminating the lakes. The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board had presented a paper on water quality in Bangalore. It showed that water from almost all parts of the city contains fecal coliforms (bacteria from faeces). So you can imagine the quality of water in the city.
How is the state of administration of the lakes?
The state of administration is in utter confusion. Some lakes are under forest department, some under the panchayat, some LDA, some BBMP, some BDA. Ultimately there is no well-defined policy to maintain the water bodies. Article 21, our fundamental right to life also encompasses our right to safe water and to good environment. Then why is the government denying it to people. None of the departments coordinate with each other and hardly anyone knows about the water quality and how to deal with it. Sewage water from unauthorized drains is let into the lakes. Along with this, BWSSB also lets its untreated sewage water in to the water bodies. Slaughter waste, poultry waste, hazardous industrial waste are killing our lakes. Most of them have become dead zones. Crores of rupees have been spent for the rejuvenation of these lakes but what is the point if no one maintains them. Bellandur lake was improved recently but it is not being maintained anymore. There is no accountability for funds and no interdepartmental communication.
Which are the lakes that are in the worst condition?
All are dying. There were over 3000 lakes once in Bangalore. As a boy I used to drink water from Bellandur and Madiwala lakes. Look at them today. There is no defined policy for management of lakes in the city. It’s a mess.
Do you see any funds crisis?
There is no dearth for funds. Authorities are planning things but not meeting any deadlines. If lakes are going to be transferred to one authority then they should just do it instead of loosely talking about it. There is no resolution and responsibility. The software industries should invest in the lakes. When I say invest I don’t mean that they shouldn’t own it but contribute to its development as responsible citizens. The lake view apartments shouldn’t just enjoy the beauty but take initiatives to keep it clean. Waste in the city should be segregated. Authorities should list out different zones, like high-density zone where population is high, make a system of collecting waste, then they should decontaminate it. Waste shouldn’t be just let in to water bodies. It’s a matter of resolution.


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