Vehicle users in many parts of the city are finding themselves in an endless search for service centres or car spas willing to give their vehicles a good old water wash. At almost every service centre in areas around Bellandur lake, and other parts of the city, customers are greeted with signboards stating ‘No water wash, inconvenience regretted’.
The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) has sent out directions to automobile service centres to either install primary treatment plants or opt for dry wash. This is because the solution containing oil, water and detergent used in water wash ultimately flows into lakes. The KSPCB’s directions apply particularly to service stations located in the catchment areas of Bellandur lake, Vrushabhavathy valley, and Hebbal lake.
Acting on the order, a large number of service centres for four- and two-wheelers, and car spas, situated in areas such as HAL Airport Road, Old Madras Road, Electronics City, and Nayandahalli have stopped water washing vehicles.
KSPCB chairman Lakshman told The Hindu that the requirement for treatment plants is an existing rule seldom complied with. “There are 115 service centres in the catchment area of Vrushabhavathy valley, 21 near Bellandur lake, and a handful near Hebbal lake. We have not banned water wash. We have directed [the centres] to install treatment plants as we do not want the water carrying oil and detergent to flow into the drains and ultimately into the lakes,” he said.
He also said the pollution control board had ordered closure of a few centres in the catchment area of Bellandur lake and later revoked the order for those who installed treatment plants.
Service centres and vehicle spas, meanwhile, have been forced to adapt to the change. Deepak, the franchisee owner of a car spa chain on HAL Airport Road, said he has switched to waterless wash using a chemical and cloth method for the same price of a regular shampoo wash. “Pressure washes at centres such as ours use 30 to 45 litres of water per wash, which is less than [the amount used in] manual bucket wash. But with waterless wash, a lot of water is saved. The only problem is that an underbody wash without water is not easy,” he said.
Hamiullah, who works at a car service centre in Nayandahalli, said customers often ask how a service package can be completed without a basic water wash. “We have to explain the pollution control board’s directions and convince them.”