A fire broke out in a mound of garbage on Bellandur lake in February this year.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed authorities to close 76 polluting industrial units around Bengaluru's Bellandur lake. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar directed the Bengaluru Deputy Commissioner and the authorities concerned to ensure immediate disconnection of water and electricity supply to these plants.
The NGT directed that residential areas near the lake must have sewage treatment plants (STPs) within parameters, failing which their power and water supply will be snapped too.
The NGT's attention was drawn to the issue in February when reports and photographs appeared of a fire in a mound of garbage near Bellandur lake.
"The state pollution control board shall exercise its power vested under Section 33A of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 read with Section 5 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and to seize the industries, if the need arise," the NGT bench said.
The NGT directed a joint inspection team comprising officials from the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) and the state pollution control board to inspect all STPs installed by housing societies and residential complexes near the lake.
"The STPs which are not operating, they shall give a time-bound programme to bring the parameters within the prescribed limit, failing which electricity and water supply should be disconnected to such complexes," the NGT bench said.
"However, reasonable time should be granted to them to comply with the prescribed parameters," the bench said. It directed immediate removal of municipal solid waste and construction debris dumped into the lake under the supervision of a committee appointed by the NGT.
"A report also be submitted in regard to the middle scale industries where they are involved in any polluting activity," the NGT bench said while fixing the case for hearing on July 13.
Criticising municipal agencies for inaction, the NGT bench had banned dumping of any kind of municipal solid waste around Bellandur lake, and announced environment compensation of Rs 5 lakh on anyone found dumping waste in and around the lake.
Earlier, the NGT had criticised the Karnataka government and its agencies responsible for maintenance of the Bellandur lake, asking them why they should not be prosecuted for negligence. It had issued notice to the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF), the Karnataka government, Lake Authority of Bangalore, state pollution control board and the Central Pollution Control Board in the case.
On February 20, the NGT had taken suo motu cognisance of media reports and photographs of the incident in which a fire broke out in Bellandur lake. "It is reported that there were thick clouds of smoke which severely hit traffic and people living around the lake. It is also reported that usually a pile of garbage around the lake is set on fire and there was total panic," the NGT had said.
"Undoubtedly, such emissions are bound to be have an adverse impact on environment, ecology and human health. It is a matter which requires serious investigation, remedial measures and restoration of the lake to its original wholesome status," the NGT bench had said.