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Karnataka HC asks how govt. plans to preserve gains on lake health after lockdown

Court observed that ‘pollution level of these water bodies appears to be nearly zero today due to lockdown’

May 20, 2020 08:55 pm | Updated 09:21 pm IST - Bengaluru

A file photo of Varthur lake.

A file photo of Varthur lake.

The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday directed the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) to spell out in what manner it is going to take steps to keep Bellandur and Varthur lakes and Vrushabhavati river bodies as clean as they stand today due to reduced cause for pollution in view of the lockdown.

“Pollution level of these water bodies appears to be nearly zero today due to lockdown. It is proof that pollution was due to effluents,” a division bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Hanchate Sanjeevkumar observed orally while hearing a PIL petition, filed by Geetha Misra, a resident of Rajajinagar.

The bench also orally observed that “perhaps the only benefit from coronavirus on environment is this.”

Appearing for the petitioner, advocate G.R. Mohan said that several water bodies in the city, particularly Bellandur and Varthur lakes and Vrishabhavati river, are not frothing due to clean environment resulting in natural process in view of the closure of industries and commercial activities due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

Pointing out that the cause for pollution of these water bodies are mainly effluent and sewage from industrial and commercial establishments, the petitioner has sought a direction to authorities not to permit industrial production in and around Bellandur and Varthur lakes, and Vrishabavathi river catchment areas within the limits of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike.

The petitioner had said that she had submitted a representation to the State government on April 23 requesting encashing the benefit of lockdown that has reduced cause for pollution of water bodies by ensuring that the industrial and commercial establishments in catchment areas of these water bodies are not allowed to operate till they comply with all environmental norms.

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