Bellandur Lake and its problems


Bangaluru: Bellandur lake is part of Varthur lake series and is one of the highly polluted lakes in Bengaluru. It has become more or less a sewage tank because of untreated sewage water entering into the lake through various inlets. In theory, clean rainwater from Koramangala and Challaghatta (K&C) Valley should flow to Bellandur lake through stormwater drains. However, Bellandur lake gets sewage inflow due to two reasons.

Bellandur Lake
source: google

The problem in Bellandur lake began in late 1980s. According to old residents of the area near the lake, foam formation existed even 25 years ago. However, with the increased urbanisation and more apartments in the vicinity, the problem has escalated. With the increased instant communication through social media, the matter is getting more publicity these days.

Bellandur lake froth was apartment owners’ fault

A car covered in the froth that started rising from Bellanduru lake
source: google

Out of 598 apartment complexes, 257 let sewage directly into water body

If all the 598 apartment complexes located along the Bellandur-Varthurlake kept their apartments’ Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) operational, the froth forming on Bellandur Lake could have been averted, according to Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) officials. Embarking on a mission spanning several months to discover the reason behind the intense pollution and frothing of Bellandurlake, KSPCB officials found that out of the 598 apartments, as many as 257 apartments had directly let raw sewage into the lake thus killing it gradually over the years.

1024px-Humming Bird Suites and Bellandur_lake
source: google

Following the reports about froth in the lake catching fire, (KSPCB) ordered scientific officers of the region to survey the area and obtain samples to ascertain the cause for the intense pollution. For nearly two months, the officers and their staffers visited every apartment complex along the lake and assessed thedischarge into the waterbody, only to realise that not all STPs were functional.

Lakshman, chairman, KSPCB, told Bangalore Mirror, “Our officials visited all the 598 apartments along the lake bed. In fact, as soon as I took over a few months ago, I, too, visited some of the apartments. Out of the 598 blocks, as many as 257 apartment complexes had their STPs either shut or out of order. We have slapped notices to all such apartments seeking their explanation over the lapses.”

Bangalore's Bellandur lake catches fire
source: google

KSPCB had even more startling details. “Not all of the 598 apartments have 100 per cent occupancy. Some of them have 20 to 30 per cent occupancy. In some of the apartments, the builders have not transferred the rights of ownership to apartment dwellers’ association. In the absence of full occupancy and ownership details, many found it difficult to run STPs to the fullest capacity. Considering it a financial burden, many of them have mutely chosen to let their apartments’ raw sewage directly into the lake,” Lakshman revealed.

Seeking legal succour

Bellandur Lake, southeast of Bangalore
source: google

In 2002, Lok Adalat directed all government departments including BBMP, BDA, BWSSB, Minor Irrigation, KSPCB and Revenue Department to form a committee and look into the status of Bellandur Lake. However nothing has changed since then and the case is still pending before Lok Adalat.

Having killed the lake systematically over the years and now slapped notices from the KSPCB, the apartment complexes are now knocking on the doors of the court seeking stay over such notices.

“As many as nine apartment owners’ associations have obtained stay over our notices. However, we are trying our best to vacate those stays and initiate action against erring apartment complexes for letting sewage directly into the lake bed,” Lakshman revealed.