App to help test water quality of lakes

A file photo of Kasavanahalli lake in Bengaluru.   | Photo Credit: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

Soon, environment enthusiasts in Bengaluru, with a help of a mobile app, can scientifically participate and collaborate to keep a check on the quality and ecological aspects of lakes in the city.

‘Mira’, a mobile application, to be launched in its beta version mid-January, 2020, is linked to a dashboard that uses technology for field use and to resolve water-related issues with community participation. The app will be an extension of the ‘Bangalore Citizen Lakes dashboard’ (blrlakesdashboard.org). NextDrop Technologies, Ashoka Trust For Research in Ecology & The Environment (ATREE), Foundation for Environmental Monitoring (FFEM) and BIOME Solutions have collaborated on it.

Presently, the dashboard has information on Jakkur, Rachenahalli, Kaikondanahalli, and Kasavanahalli lakes. Data on these are being monitored on a monthly basis. In time, with citizen and community participation, Mira is aiming to bring all lakes under its functioning.

The dashboard includes information on the quality of lakes, levels of nitrates, phosphates, dissolved oxygen level; quantity of lakes including volume, water flow; and ecology of lake and lifestyle.

“The app will add a social element, including interaction, two-way communication where people can contribute and take the initiative forward,” Shashank Palur, researcher, ATREE said. “This will enable us to build a network of a combination of mobile app with data repository dashboard, with a kit including reagents to enable people to build discourse around the water body in a scientific and informed way,” he added.

Anu Sridharan, CEO, NextDrop Technologies, said lack of metrics and data-driven knowledge about the health of lakes and transparency and ease of access to data was important in rejuvenating lakes and maintaining them.

Apart from this, there will be other tools in the app to provide information and instructions about testing water bodies for nitrates, dissolved oxygen, etc., which can be uploaded and updated on the app, which is linked to the dashboard.

High levels of methane likely caused fire in Bellandur lake

A study by the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UK CEH), UK, has found out that exceptionally high levels of methane gas from untreated raw sewage is the likely cause for Bellandur lake regularly catching fire.

The research was done in collaboration with the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE). The findings were presented at a workshop on ‘Solutions for Rejuvenating Bengaluru’s Lakes.’

The research has highlighted that methane stocks in the water of Bellandur lake was more than 1,000 times the levels seen in less-polluted lakes.

The team compared methane levels in Bellandur Lake which received untreated sewage effluent from lakhs of people, with Jakkur Lake, which received treated effluents.

“Not only are these high levels of methane a fire hazard to residents in the city, they are also a major source of greenhouse gases, as methane is 20-times as potent a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide. So improving the water quality of the city’s lakes will also reduce the city’s carbon footprint,” said Laurence Carvalho of UK CEH and Priyanka Jamwal of ATREE.

“We are engaging with lake community groups and NGOs to make decisions on the types and scale of wastewater treatment solutions needed to restore our precious lakes,” said Ms. Jamwal.

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Printable version | Dec 5, 2021 5:50:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/app-to-help-test-water-quality-of-lakes/article30280698.ece

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