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Toxic waters of Bellandur Lake catch fire again, Bengaluru authorities remain blinded in denial

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Illegal dumping of garbage and debris near the lake, along with unchecked flow of industrial waste, toxic chemicals and untreated sewage into the lake have made Bellandur Lake in Bengaluru an environmental hazard to an extent that has reached a point of no return.

Just like last year, the 9,000-acre, biggest lake in Bengaluru, ill famous for spilling snow-like toxic foam, caught fire again on February 16.

The residential area and roads around the lake were engulfed in toxic smoke, after fire broke out in the illegally dumped debris, garbage and chemicals near the lake.

The fire was more intense than on previous two occasions. It almost seemed to have engulfed the entire lake, and it took firefighters over 3 hours to put it off, local residents confirmed.

Continuous lackluster attitude of the authorities

According to Deputy Director at Karnataka Fire Department, K U Ramesh,

Usually, a pile of garbage strewn around the lake is set on fire, but yesterday it caused a scare among residents and motorists as the smoke started billowing and surrounding the lake in the evening.

Really! It’s beyond our intellect to understand why firstly garbage and toxic materials are dumped around the lake. Secondly, who sets the garbage on fire – where are the garbage disposable initiatives ‘Government Karnataka’?

The locals reportedly brought the issue of fire to the notice of the civic authorities, who very easily denied illegal dumping and burning of garbage, instead blamed the fire on presence of dry grass in the lake’s vicinity.

Image courtesy – @ragskashyap

When the international media is reporting, and even few people in the helm are agreeing to the making of an environmental hazard in the Bellandur Lake; we fail to understand how the authorities are turning a blind eye to the very evident situation.

Just like every other time, when there has been an out of control situation at the Bellandur Lake, customary notices have been sent out (no action will follow we understand).

Karnataka State Pollution Control Board Chairman Lakshman told PTI,

Notices have been issued to the BBMP, Bengaluru Water Supply and Sewage Board and other agencies to stop the dumping. He also said the board is in the process of inspecting sewage treatment plants in the area.

Wonderful, but instead, tell us when spillover of snowy froth and toxic fumes will stop from the lake?

The Environment ministry has ordered enquiry into the incident, reports of which are likely to come out soon.

Image courtesy -@WeAreHSRLayout

The background

Environment activists have brought up the issue of degrading water and air quality of Bengaluru since 2001.

But in the last two years, the activists have been even more vocal about the condition of Bellandur Lake which is in the worst, toxic condition ever, which is biggest health problem for residents’ areas along the lake.

Over and above the eco-activists, people of Bengaluru have repeatedly taken the matter to the government authorities directly and even through petition singing, asking for stopping of illegal discharge of toxic substances into the lake.

However, people claim, authorities have always given them assurances but nothing has really happened on the ground level.

What is worth noting is the fact that Rs. 300 crore has been allotted to Bengaluru civic authorities to clear the water bodies of Bengaluru. But the sad reality is that Bellandur Lake isn’t the only lake with toxic froth in the city now. Many other lakes in the city, including Varthur, Yamalur, Kasavanahalli and Rampuri have also begun to foam.

Air pollution is steadily becoming the biggest reason for premature deaths in India, and if the fretful condition of the Bellandur Lake in Bengaluru goes unchecked for some more time, water pollution will become the biggest life-taker in India’s Silicon Valley.

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