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Bengaluru: Industrial waste, sewage and encroachments take a heavy toll on Muthanallur lake

Till a decade ago the lake could boast a good water quality, but it’s on the decline now, local residents lament.

Written by Aksheev Thakur | Bengaluru |
Updated: January 30, 2022 10:01:47 am
Till a decade ago Muthanallur lake could boast a good water quality, but it’s on the decline now, local residents lament | Express photo

The Muthanallur lake, spread over 600 acres and home to several bird species such as the Indian spot-billed duck, great cormorant, Indian cormorant and the little cormorant, is one of the largest in Bengaluru Urban district. Till a decade ago the lake could boast a good water quality, but it’s on the decline now, local residents lament.

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“Water from the lake has always been used for irrigation. It is sad to see the decline. With the increase in urbanisation, unfortunately the Muthanallur lake is paying the price,” said Veeresha Kumar, a local resident.

As it is connected to other lakes such as Yerandahalli, Kachanayakanahalli and Chandapura, effluents from industrial houses reach the Muthanallur lake | Express photo

As it is connected to other lakes such as Yerandahalli, Kachanayakanahalli and Chandapura, effluents from industrial houses reach the Muthanallur lake. The Yerandahalli lake, located in the Bommasandra industrial area, is highly polluted because of the untreated industrial discharge entering it. The lake also receives water from the KG Veerasandra lake, Hebbagodi lake, Kammasandra lake, Bommasandra lake, Helaligae lake, Jigani lake and finally connects with the last lake of Karnataka, the Bidarguppae lake. Most of these lakes and the storm water drains connected to them are polluted because of the industrial discharge from the Jigani and Bommansandra areas.

In 2019, social activist Captain (retd) Santhosh Kumar fought with the water tanker lobby. “Over 250 tankers could be seen on the lake bed pumping around 15 lakh litres of water to supply to areas like Electronic City and Bellandur during the peak summer season. It was a long fight and today not a single water tanker is seen around the lake,” he said.

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Most of the lakes and the storm water drains connected to them are polluted because of the industrial discharge from the Jigani and Bommansandra areas | Express photo

Kumar said gram panchayats and municipal corporations were openly discharging sewage into lakes and storm water drains. Local residents also accused the Hennagara gram panchayat, Chandapura municipal office and the Bommasandra municipal council of failing to establish an effective waste management system. At the same time, government officials said five per cent of the lake’s total area had been encroached on for agricultural purposes.

Kumar said that he, along with the revenue department, recently started clearing the encroachments on the storm water drains. “I started investigating the encroachments of the drains and found that most of them are encroached and filled with silt. Along with the government departments, we cleared the drain between the Muthanallur lake, Batalakere and Bidarguppae,” he said.

“The storm water drain encroachment was cleared from the Muthanallur lake’s catchment area to the Muthanallur lake. The survey of the drain from the Muthanallur lake to the Bidarguppe lake will take place soon,” he said.

Kumar said that he, along with the revenue department, recently started clearing the encroachments on the storm water drains | Express photo

Kumar suggested water samples from all the lakes and storm water drains that connect to Muthanallur lake should be tested in order to keep the lake water clean. “Sincere efforts are needed to check water samples from all storm water drains running through and connected with the industrial areas of Bommasandra, Jigani and Veerasandra. It is also important to check sewage treatment plans and effluent treatment plants of all residential complexes and industrial establishments,” he said.

The district administration also cleared the drains from the Gattahalli lake, Huskur lake, Singaenaagrahara lake and the Muthanallur lake.

In last May, dead fish were seen floating in the lake. “We tested the water in March 2021 and it was found to be fit for irrigation. A sewage treatment plant is needed at the lake so that only treated water enters the lake. The reason behind the fish deaths was untreated sewage entering the lake,” a senior member of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board said.

Board officials said they had issued notices to violators.

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