Bangalore’s Bellandur Lake Catches Fire Again: Are We Ever Going To Learn?

Posted by Aniruddh Shrivastava in Environment
February 19, 2017

This is not the first time when fire broke out at Bellandur lake. In May 2015, the foam covering the water surface caught fire and burned for hours. But this time, the massiveness of the incident made residents and passers-by astounded and fearful. While residents blame reckless garbage burning, officials believe it was sparked by “chemically active sludge”.

Bellandur lake on fire. Source: Twitter

The lake was a prominent catchment area with a good green cover and home to various indigenous species including kingfishers, parrots, wood pigeons etc. Rapid industrialisation and urbanisation have made the lake severy polluted. Wildlife has almost disappeared.

Varthur lake is the second largest lake in Bangalore and also one of the most polluted. Its ecosystem is under continuous degradation because of sewage water inflow.
The story is no different at Ulsoor lake. Thousands of fish were found dead in May last year because of depletion of oxygen levels resulted from untreated sewage inflows.
The problem is that we are not learning from past incidents and making no effort towards mitigation. Not just the municipal corporation, residents and corporates are equally responsible for these hazards. Why can’t companies come forward and take the necessary initiative? Why can’t they fund required mitigation measures under Corporate Social Responsibility?
I referred to Wikipedia to read more about Bellandur lake. The last line of the first paragraph says-“Citizens of Bangalore must contribute and create an organisation to maintain the lake like cleaning it and making sure it is well kept and many species of plants grow and help regain its beauty.”
When Wikipedia, meant to provide facts and information, gives a social message, that means there is something terribly wrong going on. Unfortunately, it is true. Bangalore is a classic example of ignorance. People simply do not care about the environment. They want clean air and greenery but do not want to take steps to protect or create greenery.
When it comes to local administration, BBMP is highly inefficient because it lacks financial powers. There is acute shortage of funds. The government needs to provide greater financial powers to municipal corporations to raise funds. Municipal Bond Market can also help BBMP raise funds and install sewage treatment plants as state Pollution Control Board suggests.