Over the last three decades, the lakes in Bengaluru have been ruined. Several reports list the causes and remedies, and orders were issued by the Karnataka High Court, Lokayukta Court and National Green Tribunal. But no significant action was ever taken, and the situation has only worsened.
On 22nd January, citizen groups in Bellandur catchment area met Bengaluru In-charge Minister K J George, to press for time-bound and fast-track implementation of the Expert Committee Report.
This was the first round, and does not address all action-points identified in the Expert Committee Report: The remaining points will be taken up in subsequent meetings. The citizen group will also follow up with all authorities to ensure that actions are completed as promised.
The following key actions were identified:
Part-1: Restoration of lakes
- Remove encroachments from lakes
- In case of some lakes, incoming sewage is bypassed downstream. Correct these instances.
Set up small STPs to treat it locally.
- Currently the barrage design at Bellandur lake does not have gates, which allows accumulation of stagnated dirty water. Set up slew gates to let off stagnated dirty water.
- Desilt the lakes to increase the capacity and also to eliminate fires that feed on methane in peat layer.
- Identify areas for wetlands.
- Each lake needs wetland of specific size, depending on quality and quantity of the incoming sewage
- Construct wetlands of required size.
- Harvest the macrophytes from constructed wetlands to maintain their assimilative capacity at its peak
- Install aerators and fountains to ensure dissolved oxygen.
Part-2: Preventing untreated sewage ingress in lakes
- The Chairman of BWSSB made a commitment that 80% of the sewage entering the Bellandur lake will be treated by the end of February 2018.
- He also assured us that BWSSB would make the sewage treatment data available online, to prove that all STPs are fully functional.
- Government will set up a Sewage Treatment Plant at the Central Jail in Parappana Agrahara, thus saving the chain of five lakes.
Part-3: Preventing solid waste dumping in lakes
- Evict the illegal settlements in lake beds who segregate waste and set fire to rejected waste.
- Complete fencing around the lake
- Set up a full-fledged solid-waste management program
- Define waste-collection routes and collection frequency for all types of waste
- Mark all official vehicles with the route numbers
- Geofence all official vehicles
- Do strict fleet management of all official vehicles
- Impound all spurious vehicles used for dumping
- Metro generates a huge amount of debris while erecting pillars.
Suggestion was made to use prefab sections, which can be stacked to conduct load-test for sink-holes. The stack can be disassembled and used for the next location. This will eliminate a lot of Construction and Demolition waste.
- Medical waste from clinics and hospitals is found around lakes. Investigate this.
- Appoint lake wardens
(citizen watch committees empowered to monitor lakes, wetlands and STPs in the area)
The timeline for most of these actions is set as “immediate” or before next quarter.