The Bellandur lake in Bengaluru is supposed to be a lake that adds to the vibrant environment of the ‘Garden City’. Instead, it has become a dumping ground for waste and toxic material. It is the largest lake in Bengaluru and the most polluted as well. Recently fires on the lake have worried the residents of Bengaluru and the government. The time has finally come that Bengaluru authorities are noticing how bad the state of the lake is and are going to do something about it.
The Bellandur Lake:
The Bellandur lake is one of the oldest and largest lakes in Bengaluru. It is connected to the Varthur lake and flows into the Pinakani river basin. The lake’s history goes back to the 4th – 10th C.E. when the Western Ganga dynasty ruled and constructed it. It forms an important part of Bengaluru’s drainage system and ergo a lot of the waste in the city is released into it. The lake once was an ecological system in itself supporting wildlife and fauna, but not anymore.
Bellandur Lake burning:
Since 2015, one has witnessed the fires on the lake due to the layer of foam that formed over the lake. What once was a lively lake with a great ecological system is now dying, and some would say dead. The fires may also be traced to the industrial waste dumped into the lake so far. This can be considered the result of the unchecked growth of urbanization in the city. Despite repeated attempts to clean and revive the lake, no have succeeded or gone through with the action. On January 19, 2018, the lake, one of the 70 oldest lakes in the city caught fire for the third time. The fire lasted for more than 24 hours. It required not only the fire service in the city but army personnel too to extinguish the fire. It required about 5000 men to put out.
Observing the worsening condition of the lake in the city the green court has given the government an ultimatum to revive the lake by January 29th. This is not a recent phenomenon, there are recorded fires on Bellandur lake since the 1990s. It is hard to believe that the fire was caused by the mischief by cattle rearers. It doesn’t take away from the fact that the lake is severely polluted. Desilting of the lake should begin in a week. The actions even if carried out can’t be a single-handed effort by one body of people. It needs to be a collective effort and attempt to change our perception of waste management in the city. Reviving the lake will be a long-drawn process.
How the revival of the lake is handled will also be an important point of discussion with the elections around the corner. The government and those who stand in the elections will be questioned about this. It puts human life at risk and the fear of losing a very important water body in Bengaluru. The plan put in place has to be dynamic, intelligent and aggressive to make sure change is seen. Hopefully, this time around the process will be carried out in an orderly manner. It’s not a temporary fix the people are looking for. Bengaluru once used to place rich with flora and fauna, somehow time has taken its toll on the city. The citizens of Bengaluru, now find themselves at a crossroads, change or disaster. One can only hope they choose to change.