CHENNAI: Access to clean drinking water is everyone’s right, but increasing pollution is making it difficult to achieve this feat. Though efforts are being made to restore waterbodies, dumping of garbage and raw sewage continues to choke the life of our rivers and lakes. A case in study is the Adambakkam lake, which is dying a slow death. Apart from raw sewage and garbage, spread of water hyacinth on the surface is adding to the woes. The once pristine lake now resembles a swamp. The much talked about revival plan still remains in cold storage.
Untreated sewage from stormwater drains and houses abutting the lake bund contaminate the water and has led to formation of a thick cover of water hyacinth and invasive weeds on the lake surface. Moreover, car wash shops nearby let soap-mixed water into the lake.The lake, which covered 86 acres around 25 years ago has now shrunk to just six acres due to encroachments.
Frustrated residents want NGOs to step in and save the lake. “Many water bodies in Moovarasampet, Madipakkam and Alandur have been desilted by NGOs in association with the civic body. If similar efforts are taken here we will get back our lake,” said Shreeraam Mahalingam, a resident of Thillai Ganga Nagar.
Adambakkam lake contributes largely to recharging groundwater tables in Nanganallur, Adambakkam, Thillai Ganga Nagar and Alandur. Nanganallur residents had recently requested the Corporation to prevent sewage flow from stormwater drains.
“The lake area under the bridge has become a hot spot for dumping garbage. Hence, it is also a breeding ground for mosquitoes. For 15 years, I have seen this lake shrink. We are scared that it may disappear in a few years,” said V Rama Rao, a social activist from Nanganallur. Though in the past 10 years, Collectors and politicians have made efforts to desilt it, the plan remained on paper. Officials from the Public Works Department, said two months ago they submitted a detailed proposal seeking funds to revive the lake.