Spread over 445 acres, Varthur is one of Bengaluru's two biggest lakes suffocated by steady stream of pollutants from factories and untreated sewage. Chemicals and pollutants had the lakes frothing for decades but made international headlines when the lakes started breathing fire and smoke too.
A fence was erected around parts of the lake to keep white clouds of froth from spilling on to the road, scum that includes human waste. It does help prevent the foam from spilling over on the streets and leading to massive traffic jams, the kind that drew the National Green Tribunal's ire earlier this year that directed the Karnataka government to fix the lakes.
Heavy rains in the city, which flooded homes, roads and parked cars in low-lying areas, brought down the fence too at many places.
"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. And the rains have meant more froth, making it tougher for people driving past to evade the flying clouds of chemical.
But the Karnataka government hasn't been able to come up with a solution to breathe life into the capital's lakes. This year, it got experts from Britain and Israel over to study the problem. In essence, experts say, the solution is straightforward: stop pollutants from flowing into the river. But it will need political will to enforce the law.
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.