BENGALURU: Even as the BDA is removing hyacinth and other solid waste from Bellandur Lake at breakneck speed, it is finding it tough to dispose it. The floating harvesters started de-weeding the lake about three weeks ago, and it is no small task. Weeds have to be removed from a total of 900 acres of the lake before the May 31 deadline, as per the commitment given to the National Green Tribunal (NGT).
As the weeds are wet and bloated with water after removal, they are being left in the open for a few days so that they lose water and shrink considerably. BDA officials dumped the wet weeds at an open area near the lake, which is attracting many mosquitoes and emanating a stench.
Seema Sharma, a resident of an apartment near the lake, said, “Two days ago, people of an apartment complex woke up in the night due to a stench, which might have been caused by the weeds. We have asked the KSPCB to check. We are afraid that with more rain, more mosquitoes could be attracted to the weeds.”
Residents of houses around the dumping area met BDA Commissioner Rakesh Singh last week, and since then the waste is being transported regularly for composting. According to a resident near the lake Sonali Singh, another issue the agency faced was the mixed nature of the waste, which is not ideal for composting. However, after experts were consulted, it was decided to compost the mixture and separate the non-biodegradable parts later, she said. Sonali added that officials were also struggling due to the hyacinth’s movement from the wind.
BDA Commissioner Rakesh Singh said the agency was finding it difficult due to the sheer volume of the hyacinth and because they were not finding many takers for the compost that would be produced.A BDA source said the non-bio degradable items could not be manually separated as they formed almost 50 per cent of the mix and were closely entwined. There are plastic and thermocol wastes, bottles, polythene materials and metal waste mixed with the weeds, showing the extent of solid wastes in the lake.
“We tried a lot to sell the compost, but nobody wants it due to the presence of solid waste. The Horticulture Department could have used it for their big farms. However, they tested it in their lab and found it not fit for plants,” the source said. To compost it in a landfill outside the city, the cost of transporting the waste would be too high
In case it does not find any buyers, the BDA plans to create a tree park along the lake’s bund and use the compost there. Hyacinth has been removed from about 420 acres out of 900 acres of the lake.