Massive fire in Bengaluru lake

Unfortunate: Residents claim that the lakebed has been a dumping site for mixed waste for years.

Unfortunate: Residents claim that the lakebed has been a dumping site for mixed waste for years.  

On Thursday night, Bengaluru residents watched in horror as a massive fire broke out and smoke billowed from the Bellandur Lake.

The cause of the fire, one of the worst in recent months, remains a mystery. While residents blame it on reckless garbage burning, officials believe it was sparked by “chemically active sludge.” But they are yet to conduct tests to verify the cause.

Lakshman, Chairman of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board, visited the spot on Friday morning. He said a technical team prima facie suspected that the fire was triggered by a chemical reaction in the sludge, which might have released combustible methane gas in excess.

“The hyacinth over the sludge was dry and caught fire. The spot where the fire broke out was limited to an ‘island’ of about 200 ft. in the lake, away from the bund. Its ring-like formation indicates a chemical reaction,” he said.

Residents told The Hindu that over the past few months the lake-bed was being used to burn garbage illegally. “It’s becoming a daily affair,” said Seema Sharma, a resident of Mantri Espana apartment near the lake.

Cause to be probed

The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board has formed a six-member committee, led by Chief Environmental Officer, to probe into the cause of the fire and monitor the rejuvenation of the lake. “We have collected samples from the spot,” said Mr. Lakshman.

“The samples will be subjected to a chemical analysis to understand what triggered the fire. We will come out with the report soon,” he said.

The last time Bellandur Lake caught fire was in October 2016. It raged for five days.

Bellandur Lake:

    One of the largest lakes in the city: 700 acres 13 guntas

    Shot to international infamy as the lake frothed and fire broke out in the lake in 2015

    In 2016, government forms 18-member technical committee to recommend action plan for lake’s rejuvenation.

    January 10, 2017: High Court set up a two member committee to monitor rejuvenation efforts.

Why not fenced?:

 Revenue department has conducted a survey of the lake area and issued notices to encroachers, after eviction of which lake will be fenced.

Toxic sludge sediments in lakebed:

    Bathymetric survey of the lake-bed shows volumes of silt and sludge sediments in the lake

    Sludge has high concentration of heavy metals like lead, chromium, copper, cadmium and chromium.

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Printable version | Sep 25, 2020 8:32:21 PM |

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