Chennai's Ambattur lake dying a slow death due to pollution

According to Metro Water sources, in Ambattur area, groundwater pollution is highest near the lake and they constantly receive complaints from the area.

Published: 03rd June 2022 06:33 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd June 2022 06:38 AM   |  A+A-

Water hyacinth thrives in the polluted Ambattur lake

Water hyacinth thrives in the polluted Ambattur lake. (Photo| Ashwin Prasath, EPS)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The once-thriving Ambattur lake in the western part of the city, which has shrunk almost by half from 650 acres, is at risk of dying due to unchecked pollution, say environmental activists in the area. The irony is that despite the presence of such a large waterbody in the locality, the more than 17,000 residents here are dependent on Metro Water supply, as the lake is severely contaminated. 

"About 45 years ago, when we were kids, we used to swim in this lake. The water was so clean and fresh that hundreds of migratory birds used to visit the lake. Now, we only find garbage and concrete in this waterbody," said Balachandran, a member of Ambattur Waterbodies Protection Movement (AWPM).

Funds to the tune of about Rs 40 crore were released by the government for the rejuvenation and restoration of Korattur, Ambattur and Madhavaram lakes from 2015-18, including Rs 13 crore for 2015-16 (phase one), Rs 13 crore for 2016-17 (phase two) and Rs 13.18 crore for 2017-18. But even water hyacinth, which has accumulated over the last two decades, hasn’t been removed from the lake, claim residents.

One of the major issues is illegal discharge of sewage. Numerous houses have been built around the lake and due to absence of a proper drainage system and intermittent garbage collection, homes use illegal drains to dispose of sewage into the lake and trash is directly thrown into the waters.

"MKB Nagar, Sivananda Nagar, Samthariya Nagar, Sathyapuram and Nehru Nagar are some of the areas that let polluted water into the lake. The first step towards addressing this issue is fixing the sewage system in the area," said K Ramanujam, who has been residing in the area for over two decades.

According to Metro Water sources, in Ambattur area, groundwater pollution is highest near the lake. They constantly receive complaints from the area.

When contacted, a Metro Water official said plugging of sewage outfalls is the responsibility of other civic bodies. "It requires coordination from all corporations.The waterbody will be cleaned before the onset of monsoon,” said the officials.

However, when the Public Works Department was contacted, an official said, “A case is ongoing in NGT about pollution in Korattur lake. As a part of joint drive, sewers in Korattur and Ambattur lake will be shut.”


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