Bengaluru

Trust raises questions about waste water diversion, desilting

The Bangalore Environment Trust has written to government agencies involved in the revival of Bellandur and Varthur lakes over its rejuvenation processes.

The Bangalore Environment Trust has written to government agencies involved in the revival of Bellandur and Varthur lakes over its rejuvenation processes.  

‘Revival of one waterbody should not sound death knell to others’

The city’s Bellandur and Varthur lakes, which started spewing froth and fire owing to prolonged periods of unabated pollution, have finally got a shot at rejuvenation, though after multiple interventions from the National Green Tribunal. But is the process free of errors?

The Bangalore Environment Trust (BET), under the chairmanship of environmentalist A.N. Yellappa Reddy, has written to the government agencies involved in the rejuvenation of both lakes, raising questions over some of the rejuvenation processes. They have also submitted some recommendations.

The list includes a course correction in the diversion of toxic waste water, which is now being pushed downstream subsequently into Dakshina Pinakini river.

Recommendations

In the letter, the trust said that the rejuvenation of one waterbody should not sound the death knell to others. “The rejuvenation approach of diverting approximately 500 million litres of toxic waste water entering Bellandur lake to Varthur lake and subsequently to Dakshina Pinakini river, seems to us that the polluting matter is being pushed downstream, thus translocating pollution. If the objective is pollution abatement, then diversion work is in contradiction to that objective as it allows the toxic waste water to travel long distances and thus increase the pollution load of the waterbodies downstream. This activity is in contravention to Section 24 of Water Act,” the letter says.

‘Toxic cocktail’

The trust has said that the government should pause, validate the approach via an Environmental Impact Assessment and make the necessary course correction.

It has also raised issues of where the “toxic cocktail” from the desilting exercise of the two lakes will be dumped. “One can deduce that 19.4 million tonnes of silt+slush cocktail on Bellandur lakebed and 7.8 million tonnes on Varthur lakebed are hazardous. Desilting this humongous quantity is a daunting task. To practically desilt such huge quantities will take a long time. What measurable benefits are obtained from this expensive activity? Where will the toxic cocktail go?” they asked.

They have also urged the government agencies to stop pollution at source as the lake is a receiving waterbody and any intervention to overcome pollution must be targeted upstream where the waste water is generated, as well as develop a Lake Ecosystem Management Programme to ensure that the exercise is not a “one-time capital-intensive engineering and infrastructure activity.”

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 12:43:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/trust-raises-questions-about-waste-water-diversion-desilting/article30795651.ece

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