Editor’s note: Youth Ki Awaaz and Environmentalist Foundation of India have joined hands to help save India’s water bodies. Watch this space for stories, photo galleries and ideas on what you can do to be a part of this growing movement.
Delhi’s notorious level of environmental pollution just does not seem to relent. A lot is being said (little is being done) about the city’s air pollution, the polluted Yamuna and the Barapullah Nallah. However, what is completely off the radar of conversation, are Delhi’s lakes. The sad truth is that Najafgarh Lake and Sanjay lake, are just two water bodies, amongst several others that are being lost to urban development.
The Sanjay Lake in Trilokpuri is a fine example of Delhi’s forgotten freshwater habitats. Located in the chaotic East Delhi, over time it has been grossly neglected, and is just another example of how India’s urban lakes are being exploited, undermined and abused. These pictures say it all.
A lake bed is meant to have water with aquatic life forms ranging from fish to frogs and plants adorning it. However, Sanjay lake has construction debris dumped across it; the vehicular tracks lead the way to an illegal dumping ground of trash and debris, steadily killing the lake.
Mounds of trash from the neighbourhood take over the lake; this leaves uneven surfaces on the lake bed which further damages the lake area. The trash pile of domestic waste of e-waste, sanitary, kitchen waste and celebratory waste, has left the waterbody contaminated. Unregulated, invasive plant growth on the lake is a cause of worry, as it is killing the native species of flora and fauna.
Trash ranging from dry polythene, wrappers, non-degradable thermocol, and styrofoam can be found dumped on the lake bed.
Water spread of the lake is restricted to certain pockets. The water quality is poor due to urban pollution, and the mixing of sewage into this freshwater paradise. This of course, leads to the spread of waterborne diseases. And we wonder why we have dengue, malaria and related infections.
There is an urgent need for a community-based cleanup, scientific restoration and conservation of this pristine water body in the Capital. An oasis in the concrete jungle, this lake once restored, can regulate temperature, help prevent waterborne diseases and stabilise the groundwater in the neighbourhood.
To help make this a reality, the Environmentalist Foundation of India and Youth Ki Awaaz invite volunteers to join us in an ongoing effort to conserve the Sanjay Lake.
Register for a community cleanup to remove the dumped trash from the lake bed, on September 29, 2016. Tools and gloves will be provided. Get details and register here.