With many residents taking up the ‘save the lakes’ campaign forward, Yuva (Yelahanka United Environment Association) is another motivated team which believes that the future of Bangalore lakes lies in the hands of the citizens.
In order to revive the Allalasandra lake, Yuva organised Shramadaan - a voluntary participation by citizens in lake cleaning on Sunday morning, which concluded with 600 people participating along with around 70 NSS students who voiced their support towards protecting the 44-acre lake. Dr ST Thayappa, president of Yuva was glad with the turnout and said, “People who participated, took up the cleaning of the periphery of the lake, removing weeds and waste. We had some tree plantation activity and they enjoyed watering the plants.”
With this campaign, rejuvenation of Allalasandra lake has only begun and the BBMP has the tough task of eradicating weed growth in the lake.
According to G Jagadeesh, joint secretary of Yuva team, they are in constant touch with the commissioner and joint commissioner of BBMP while an official letter has been submitted to the officials to take immediate action. “We have also explained the horticulture standing committee chairman and corporator Muniraju and MLA SR Vishwanath to bring in a permanent solution. We have got in touch with multiple experts across the country. Out of the 44 acres, almost 40 per cent is covered with weed. If we ignore it now, 60 percent of the area will be covered with weeds. Before it gets worse, we need to remove the weeds,” he said.
He also added that there will be a need for at least 200 labourers for the job as the weed has been spreading vertically and horizontally. “Even if we get the manpower, many labourers are not willing to step into the lake because of the sewage water flowing inside the lake, which is 12-feet and goes deeper inside. For 15-acres, we will require at least 300 lorry loads to remove the weeds,” he stated.
The team now plans to either introduce the ‘technology’ method or the ‘biological’ method of removing the weeds. “The technology method has been successfully tested in 5 lakes in Hyderabad by GHMC (Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation), which has been effective. The biological method from Jabalpur University, through which insects are left into the lake to multiply and destroy weeds would be slow and would take over 15-20 months but it will be a permanent method to control weeds,” explained Jagadeesh, who along with the team has requested the BBMP commissioner to check with their Hyderabad counterpart in bringing in the ‘technology’ method.
“In fact the GHMC team is ready to come to Bangalore to brief us. This can be a holistic approach for not only Allalasandra lake but also other lakes. Also, the Directorate of Weed Research centre of Jabalpur University in Madhya Pradesh has successful case studies and they are voluntarily giving us worms. We request the BBMP authorities to consider Allalasandra lake as a pilot project and then follow the same method with other lakes,” he explained.
The Yuva team has set a deadline for itself to revive the lake. “We are pushing for a 90-day period but it might take at least six months. We are internally drawing out a plan. Currently, we meet once in a fortnight and the lake cleaning programme takes place on the second Saturday of every month,” he said.