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Fire on Bellandur Lake

Froth in Amanikere at Yamaluru, on Saturday; (inset, video grab) the fire was caused by methane that had accumulated on the highly polluted water body. Photo: Sudhakara Jain

Froth in Amanikere at Yamaluru, on Saturday; (inset, video grab) the fire was caused by methane that had accumulated on the highly polluted water body. Photo: Sudhakara Jain  

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Methane that had accumulated on the highly polluted water body combusted spontaneously.

After froth made residence on the lake for nearly two weeks, early Saturday saw a fire break out on Bellandur lake, the city’s largest water body.

Just before dawn, yellowish flames emerged near the Yemlur side of the 700.13-acre lake out of the white, bubbly froth that had covered the lake for the past few weeks. For more than five minutes, the flames spread amidst the undulations of the nearly four-feet-high froth.

Utterly puzzled by the phenomenon, Siddaramaiah, Regional Officer (Bommanahalli division) of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), said this was the first time in the city that froth or debris on top of a lake was reported to have combusted spontaneously.

“We believe it is because of the methane build-up on the surface. Sewage has been flowing into the lake, and a layer of oil and froth, which is caused by chemicals from detergents and cleaners, had formed. In one area, methane gas had started to accumulate within the froth. Methane is a highly combustible gas, and it must have caught fire,” he said. A team of officials from the district administration and Revenue Department visited the lake.

Shivashankar, Superintendent Engineer of BDA under whom the lake comes, said the accumulation of waste was due to encroachments of canals that serve as an outlet for the lake. “While the corporation has blocked one canal as it is constructing a bridge, the other 64-feet-wide canal has been encroached upon and blocked with debris. We cleared the encroachments on Saturday,” he said.

However, this is only a temporary solution as the froth and dirt will eventually spill over to the already beleaguered Varthur Lake, which has seen froth since April 27.

Officials admit little could be done until BWSSB completes construction of two Sewage Treatment Plants along the lake.

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Printable version | Jul 15, 2018 8:26:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/fire-on-bellandur-lake/article7215310.ece