HYDERABAD: Government officials have stock answers to questions on frothing of lakes: Presence of detergents, filamentous bacteria, industrial effluents or waste from animal farming. Environment engineers, scientists and activists on Wednesday brainstormed at a first-of-its-kind conference organised by National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) and concluded that there was a lack of clarity on what causes frothing and how to tackle the issue.
NEERI scientist Dr Meganathan P R recently studied one of the most highly polluted lakes in Hyderabad, Ibrahimbagh Cheruvu, and found the concentration of sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) to be 24 times higher than normal.
“There are various other chemicals in lakes apart from SLS and it is important to ascertain what they are to formulate a way to prevent the frothing of lakes, ” said NEERI scientist Dr Meganathan.“The reasons behind frothing varies from one lake to another and every lake needs a separate action plan. We can’t have a tailor-made solution to fit all lakes. Huge sums of money is being spent by the government on flyovers and other infrastructure, why can’t money be spent on water which gives life?
Current water quality monitoring parameters need to be changed. Organic and biological indicators should be monitored to assess the quality of lakes.”N Raveendhar, Chief Environmental Scientist, Environment Protection Training and Research Institute (EPTRI) pointed out that almost all lakes in the city were in their “extinction stage” referring to the life cycle of a lake which itself may vary across lakes anywhere between a few days to geologic time periods.
The conference also saw some innovative solutions for the problem ranging from using a virus that can kill filamentous bacteria in the lake by Dr T Rajesh from NEERI to using algae species Diatoim to kill blue-green algae that kills a lake by Dr T K Marella of International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT).