BENGALURU: It’s not just Bellandur Lake that is in a bad condition. If the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) is to be believed, 42 out of 53 lakes, which were tested recently, do not not have water that is fit for drinking or even bathing. The remaining 11 do not have water at all and are just dried lake beds. This is the result of a Water Quality Index (WQI) test carried out by the KSPCB in November 2017. There are over 70 lakes in city.
As per the guidelines issued by the Central Pollution Control Board, KSPCB carries out WQI test of lakes and tanks across the state once in three months. The latest report was published in November last year, which shows that the water quality in all lakes was unsatisfactory. The WQI index ranks lakes in five categories — A, B, C, D and E, with the E category being the ones with the least quality.
As per the report, not even one of the 53 lakes tested are in the A or B categories, while most of them (35) are in the D category. The officials take samples from the lakes and test them for presence of coliform organisms, pH (potential of Hydrogen), presence of biochemical oxygen and others. The lakes are then categorised based on the results with those classified in category A having water fit to drink and those classified under E having water unfit for any use.
Of the 42 lakes, seven got E grade and 35 lakes were in the D category. Pointing out to Category D and E, officials blamed industries and the domestic waste which is being dumped into these lakes. Even in lakes like Puttenahalli, Sankey, Madiwala, Arekere, Dorekere, Yelahanka, Uttarahalli, Byrasandra and Herohalli, the water quality was found ‘unsatisfactory’.
City sitting on methane bombs
Environmentalist A N Yellappa Reddy said methane gas is produced if the sludge is dumped in a lake or garbage is dumped in a place for more than 14 years. This gas is highly inflammable. “The Bellandur Lake fire is not because the sludge accumulated over a day or two. It accumulated 40 feet deep in the lake bed. Even 5,000 people were not able to extinguish the fire immediately. All these are self-made mistakes made over years. The story of other lakes that scored badly in WQI is similar.
These lakes are in various stages of destruction and one never knows when fires will start in these lakes. Bengaluru is literally sitting on an inflammable methane bomb. We have already invited danger and now we have very less time to save us from this chemical bomb.” “When we were young, the type of waste we threw out of the house was different from today. A total of 40 per cent of the city’s population is dependent on underground water that is contaminated. The surface water and the ground water both have turned dangerous.’’
Category Number of lakes
A (Drinking water source) Nil
B (Outdoor bathing-organised) Nil
C (Drinking water with conventional treatment) Nil
D (Propagation of wildlife, fisheries) 35
E (Controlled by waste disposal, unfit to drink) 7