It was a heartening initiative taken up for a disheartening scenario. Concerned citizens, residents and environmental and social activists came out in large numbers and decided to put their Sunday to good use by participating in the Bellandur Lake Run here. The 2.9-kilometre run was part of a continuing struggle to spread awareness and demand Government action to check the deteriorating condition of the Bellandur Lake.

The lake spread over 950 acres, is the largest in the city. Over the years, it has been a victim of pollution from the inflow of sewage water and encroachments, with nearly 500 million litres of sewage flowing directly into the lake daily, but only a tiny fraction being treated. There is also a high concentration of lead, cadmium and chromium in the lake.

The run was the common man's way of urging the Government to undertake complete restoration of the lake by arresting untreated sewage inflow.

The struggle started 13 years ago with environmentalist Ramamurthy and Jagannath winning a historic case in the High Court of Karnataka which directed the Government to clean up lakes and prevent untreated sewage entering into them.

Mr. Ramamurthy said that he was pained to see that the lake receives more untreated sewage than ever before. “Only a small portion is being treated and this is eyewash. In the 11 years after the court judgment, Bellandur Lake has deteriorated. It is shameful that even a court verdict is being thrown to the winds,” he said.

Mr. Jagannath, former panchayat chairman of Bellandur, recalled how there were a variety of fishes in the lake before and how the lake water was used for drinking and irrigation purposes.

However, hope was still evident since environmentalists and scientists have said that a complete restoration of the lake is possible. The group is taking heart from the example of the restoration of the Kaikondrahalli Lake on Sarjapur Road by the citizens.

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