HYDERABAD: A nest with some eggs and a baby of an Indian black turtle, a species categorised as ‘near-threatened’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), has been discovered on the shores of Neknampur lake recently. It is not the only species that has made the lake and its surroundings their home. Unlike most of the lakes in and around Hyderabad, Neknampur lake also has fishes in it and its surroundings are home to animals like python, keelback (a non-venomous water snake), monitor lizard, Indian bull frog and a red-eared slider.
The lake is an example of how with citizens’ enthusiasm, governmental help and scientific approach water bodies can be salvaged from pollution and even developed to be fit enough to support biodiversity.
There has been a notable betterment in water quality of the lake from November 2016 to January 2018. Dissolved oxygen levels in the lake increased from 2.5 milligrams per litre (mg/L) to 4.2 mg/L which should ideally be 6mg/L or more, Biochemical oxygen demand decreased from 8 mg/L to 3.8 mg/L which should ideally be 2 mg/L or less and chemical oxygen demand decreased from a whopping 153 mg/L to 32 mg/L.
Thanks to the efforts of an NGO, Dhruvansh, with help from government organisations, floating wetlands are being developed, aerators introduced, garbage dumping is being put under check, harvesting of aquatic weed is being done and water quality being regularly monitored by the Telangana State Pollution Control Board (TSPCB).It is not surprising that the fisheries department released 20,000 fish seedlings into the lake last year and many of the seedlings have survived as the lake is getting back to life.
Lakes as revenue generators
Lakes are good not just for the environment but they can also prove to be a good source of revenue to people in and around Hyderabad. According to fisheries department, there are about 1,000 fishermen registered with ten fishermen’s co-operative societies in Greater Hyderabad and there are many more who are not officially registered. However, very few of them get any revenue from fishing as most lakes have become unfit for survival of fish.
Hyderabad consumes about 40 tonnes of fish on weekdays & around 60 tonnes during weekends. Apart from a few months when there is good supply of fish from reservoirs and tanks in Telangana, where fishing is seasonal, for most part of the year fish is imported from Andhra.