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Friday, January 28, 2022

Lakes of Bengaluru: Industrial discharge, sewage pollute Hennagara lake; remedial steps yet to be taken

Located off the Jigani-Bommasandra Ring Road, the Hennagara lake is spread over 700 acres, with the water-holding area measuring 380 acres. 

Written by Aksheev Thakur | Bengaluru |
Updated: December 22, 2021 3:10:34 pm
Bangalore lakeHennagara Lake is polluted with construction debris, garbage and industrial effluents. (Express photo by Jithendra M)

While the lakes within the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) limits have been in the spotlight for encroachments and violations in the buffer zone, the water bodies falling outside the ambit of municipal limits have either been turned into a garbage ground or the lake beds are being used to pump water to cater to the people in Bengaluru Urban, rued environmental activists and locals.

Located off the Jigani-Bommasandra Ring Road, the Hennagara lake is spread over 700 acres, with the water-holding area measuring 380 acres. The lake has traditionally been used by the farmers to irrigate their lands. The village dwellers, however, point out that the construction of apartments and industries around the lake in the last one decade has affected the lake.

The local residents say that unlike the BBMP limits where solid waste management rules are applicable to apartments, the panchayat seldom cares about the segregation of the waste in Hennagara and the lake bed has been used as a dumping ground.

One of the major concerns is that the small-scale red-category industries in Jigani have not only encroached the buffer zones of the storm water drains (SWD) but are also discharging industrial chemical effluents into the canals connected to the major drains that finally empty into the lake.

Bangalore lake Local residents say that the panchayat seldom cares about the segregation of the waste in Hennagara and the lake bed has been used as a dumping ground. (Express photo by Jithendra M)

A recent visit to the lake revealed that there were rampant violations.

Under the Karnataka Groundwater (Regulation and Control of Development and Management) Act, 2011, every borewell in the city should be registered. At Hennagara, more than 30 tankers are lined up on the lake bed to draw water. Moreover, a water bottling plant has also been set up nearby.

“Not only the Hennagara lake but all the lakes in Anekal taluk are polluted. One can see the grease and chemical discharge from the small-category industries entering the drains. These drains are connected to the lake,” a local resident, Jagadish K, who is an advocate by profession, said.

‘The SWDs have been brazenly encroached and the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB) is responsible for allowing this to happen. We hardly see the utilisation of CSR funds for the lake. A decade ago, the area was known for its ragi crop,” he said.

He also said that the state pollution control board had collected water samples and found that the water quality has been impacted due to the entry of sewage into the lake but it refused to acknowledge the entry of the industrial effluents into the drains.

Another resident, Tushar Chandra, the director of NGO Vrikshamitra Foundation, which is trying to protect the Hennagara Lake, said: “Farmers often say they cannot use the lake water since it is polluted. Since this area is outside BBMP limits, the panchayat has no guidelines as far as solid waste management is concerned.”

“We believe that the National Green Tribunal (NGT) should form a special team which includes scientists so that we all can work with the panchayat to revive the lake,” he added.

Bangalore lake Village dwellers point out that the construction of apartments and industries around the lake in the last one decade has affected the lake. (Express photo by Jithendra M)

He also pointed out that effluent treatment plants (ETP) are absent in the area.

It has also been pointed out that the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board does not check the functioning of the sewage treatment plants (STP) of the private residential complexes. A huge apartment complex within the vicinity of the lake had discharged the sewage into the drains when its STP malfunctioned.

The local residents who have raised the issue of illegalities have been threatened by goons.

Chandra said when he brought the issue of illegal dumping of garbage around the lake before the panchayat, its members stated that since they do not have any other place to dump the garbage they would utilise the land which they find empty.

“The garbage collector told me that the lake’s land is not my personal property so he could dump it. The panchayat members had earlier displayed their eagerness to restore the lake and turn it into a tourist destination,” he added.

Present status of the lake

Sewage Treatment Plant – No

Size of the lake – 700 acres

Major issues – Chemical and sewage entry into SWD which connects to the lake, borewells in the lake

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