Heavy rain on Monday night has exacerbated the foaming in two lakes in Bengaluru
Bengaluru: After the city's heaviest August rain in a century, two giant lakes in Bengaluru are spewing so much toxic foam that residents who live near them have reportedly complained that they are having to stay indoors. On Wednesday, the froth, a stinking cocktail of chemicals and untreated sewage dumped in the lakes, rose to over 10 feet in the Varthur Lake, spilling over a tall fence erected to keep the foam away from motorists on the city's Whitefield road. A day before, the 1000-acre Bellandur Lake had hurled froth at motorists.
Here is your 10-point cheat-sheet to the Bengaluru lake mess:
- Foul foam spilled on to the road from the 440-acre Varthur lake, rising. "We are afraid of stepping out, more so with children. What if they fall ill?" a man who lives in the area told news agency ANI. Another resident said it was difficult to send children to school for fear of the foam hitting them.
- Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said on Thursday that the state government is "taking all necessary actions," promising a solution, but with a timeline that will cause hearts to sink. "It is there, it will be solved within one or two years, said the Chief Minister, who will seek re-election in assembly polls next year.
- With factories around the lakes pouring a steady stream of chemicals and sewage, including human waste, from residences in the area also flowing into them, the Bellandur and Varthur lakes have been frothing for years and even caught fire recently, making global headlines.
- Rain since late Monday night, when the city got its heaviest shower in August since 1890, has exacerbated the foaming, making it tougher for people driving past to evade the flying white clouds of chemical.
- In many places the rain has brought down the fence put up around the lakes, flooding homes, roads and cars parked in low-lying areas,
- "The water current was so strong that it has destroyed the fence and the mud wall. Water flowing from Bellandur to Varthur has also entered the empty land adjacent to it," said a resident.
- The National Green Tribunal had earlier this year directed the Karnataka government to fix the lakes, but it hasn't been able to come up with a solution yet.
- The Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), which is the custodian of the lakes, has been working to remove weeds and is using high-power pumps and coir foam mattresses and other filtering techniques to stop the frothing, but it little impact.
- Experts from Britain and Israel have visited to study the problem and they say that the solution is simple - stop pouring pollutants into the lakes.
- In March, TV Ramachandra, a professor at the Indian Institute of Science who has been studying the lake for decades, said they had given a reasonably good proposal for the rejuvenation of lakes in Bangalore. "We know how to manage it," he said.
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