Toxic Vibhutipura lake waits for government funds

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Garbage floating on the surface of the Vibhutipura Lake
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Signage prescribing prevention of garbage dumping
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Drain connecting to the lake
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Garbage accumulation around the lake
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Growth of water hyacinth, which reduces oxygen levels in the lake, detrimental to aquatic life.


Bangalore, October 10, 2017: Pollution levels in the Vibhutipura Lake are on the rise as government bodies refuse to take action, and deny that the lake is under their jurisdiction.

Nalini Reddy, who lives in an apartment complex around the lake, says that the sewage in the lake stinks up the area, especially when the lake overflows in the monsoon.

Divya Shivaram, a resident in one of the apartment complexes in the area said that one can see     plastic floating on the surface. Lubaina, who frequents the park near the lake with her son, said that she is concerned as the lake acts as a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

The rejuvenation project of the lake had been taken up by the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) in 2014. However, the BDA Chief Engineer of the East zone, Mr. PN Naik, confirmed that the responsibility of the lake had been handed over to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) BBMP about two years ago.

Sudha, who is a member of the Resident Welfare Association, said, three years back when the rejuvenation process was underway, the BDA was successful in cleaning the lake and fenced a part of it. However, she says, the situation is different now. She claims the toxic lake water seeps into the ground and pollutes the ground water table.

Sushma Kamath, who works with Vibhutipura Kere Abhivruddhi Mattu Samrakshane Samiti (VIKAS), a forum which advocates the development of the lake, said that last year the Karnataka Lokayukta urged the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) to conduct a test to check the toxicity of the water.

She claims the results show that the pollution level in the lake is as high as the Bellandur Lake. The main source of pollution is sewage from households which are not connected to the underground sewage system, especially from areas like Annasandrapalya and Reddypalya. She also mentioned the inaction by the BBMP, after the lake was transferred in September, 2016.

Ravichandra, a scientist from Bangalore said, “Contrary to popular imagination, domestic waste water accounts for the largest cause of pollution in Bangalore. Polluted water which is untreated has the capacity to pollute groundwater, even seepage pits for that matter will eventually, after a very long period, affect groundwater.”
“There are two types of water contamination, anthropogenic or caused by human beings and geogenic or caused by geological deposits in the substrata. The current discussion of pollution is only limited to the former,” he said about the Vibhutipura lake.

However, Jaganath, BBMP Executive Engineer of lakes has said, it was only twenty days back that the council body has passed a resolution to hand over the lake.

Sumetee Pahwa Gajjar, working at Indian Institute for Human Settlements, discusses solutions to the lake pollution problem. She has said, when reeds and hyacinth are grown in a controlled fashion in the lake bed, it has the capacity to control the composition of nitrates and phosphates in the water.

Krishna VP, president of KR Puram Constituency Welfare Federation, has said that the federation has proposed a budget of Rs. 4 crore for the rejuvenation project which needs to be approved by the BBMP and MLA B.A Basavaraja.
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