Indian Youth Climate Network (IYCN) organised a workshop on "Youth and Conservation of Lakes" for students of Jyoti Nivas College on December 4. Several prominent Bangaloreans were invited to speak at the event, which was followed by a trip to Parapanna Agrahara Lake.
Dr. Yellappa Reddy, noted environmentalist, a trustee at the Bangalore Environment Trust and former Indian Forest Service Officer was the chief guest. He explained the importance of conservation of lakes. He said that lake is truly a living entity; due to the dissolved oxygen content in it that supports various aquatic flora and fauna. He suggested using drumstick seed powder as an organic option to clean lakes.
Well-known ornithologist Dr M B Krishna spoke on "Wastelands for Wildlife and Education in Bangalore". He recalled the variety of flora and fauna that Bangalore used to be host to, and advocated the restoration of lakes for their own sake, and not for commercial or any such other purpose.
Muralidhar Rao, one of the key people involved in the restoration of the Mestripalaya lake, was next to speak. An active member of the Indian Liberal Group, and a founding member of the website ‘Praja,’ he spoke about the importance of engaging with government authorities, by using tools such as the RTI and PIL. He stressed on the importance of civilians having a thorough and in depth knowledge of the lake and its issues before acting.
Last but not the least, two young students from K K Public School talked about their experience protecting the Varthur Lake. The contamination that they discovered in Varthur Lake is indeed horrifying.
The students of the college then visited the lake, where they conducted surveys of several of the community members to find out aspects such as their source of drinking water and presence of water borne diseases.
Parappana Agrahara lake and its problems.
21 households were surveyed in the Parappana Agrahara village. According to the survey, 15-18 years ago the lake was in a good condition and it was used for drinking water and agriculture purposes. After the Central Jail was relocated, pollution of lake started and simultaneously the village’s Underground Drainage (UGD) Systems are also led into the lake.
The pleas of the locals to stop the direct pollution of the lake have gone unheeded. Health problems are bound to increase now, and this is indicated by rise in mosquitoes in the area and the change in the quality of drinking water. The locals are now using alternate sources of water like BWSSB supply and bore wells. Residents of the village have pledged their support for the restoration of the lake.