The PR preamble is “dedicated to generating employment and owned by cooperatives of citizens and poor farmers” – not few ruling cornies and their allies. The lakes of Bangalore were created by the Kempagowdas, Oodayars of the Mysore kingdom and the British during the 16th century. As Bangalore had no rivers, these tanks or lake bunds were created on gradient slopes to act as a water catchment. Most of the lakes and tanks were man made for purposes of:
- Drinking water
- Irrigating and fishing needs
- Influencing the micro climate of the city
- Usage by Dhobis to wash and dry clothes
- Replenishing ground water which were tapped by wells for drinking water
In the 1960s the number of tanks and lakes was 280 and less than 80 in 1993. Until 1895 unfiltered water was supplied from tanks like Dharmambudhi (present day Bus station), Millers tank (Area opposite Cantonment railway station), Sankey and Ulsoor tanks . Can you believe that !!? So what happens if we loose our lakes or have them polluted ? :
- Loss of irrigated areas and human (Farmers) suffering because of this.
- Loss of drinking water sources
- Reduction of water storage due to encroachment and sedimentation of pollutants
- Loss of connectivity between lakes due to encroachments of drainage’s and residential layouts have led to non-filling of lakes
- A study conducted by KSPCB shows that lakes are highly polluted and unfit for drinking
- Pollution of ground water
- Presence of high concentration of metals in vegetables grown using polluted lake water
- Polluted water is breeding ground for mosquitoes and has become hazardous to health causing diseases such as cholera, jaundice, skin problem s, breathing problems
- Disappearance of birds
- Decrease in flora and fauns and increase in aquatic weeds and algae due to sewage let into tanks
- Growth of water Hycinth depletes penetration of sunlight hampering fish harvesting and driving away birds like water fowl, kingfishers.
- Depletion of ground water
- Flooding of urban areas
- Construction on lakes are vulnerable to flooding and quakes
Loot and deception in name of restoration of lakes, what else? Realizing the importance of lakes several so called initiatives were been carried out over the years with finance form central and state government and external agencies. Restoration of lakes happen under various schemes and departments and cores of money is spent doing the same. Various private companies under schemes such as adopt a lake and government agencies such as BDA, BBMP, LDA, KFD, BWSSB, NLCP, HUDCO are involved in doing so, but there are road blocks (think about poor earning babus) to this too:
- Multiple agencies involved results in lack of co-ordination
- Lack of integrated approach
- Lack of vigil on lakes and tanks
- Garbage/sewage flow into lakes
- By-Pass of court direction and laws
Leasing of lakes to builders and hotels – These agencies encroach lakes , overuse lakes and instead of developing the lake are using them to release their apartment sewage and exploiting its resources
Corruption – sounds small black-hole, but 99% of humanity engulfed already!
Private bhakts keep away local communities whose livelihood depended on these lakes earlier.
What could we do about our lakes ?
- Get involved with agencies who work for the protection and restoration of lakes.
- Involve school and colleges in protection of lakes
- Residents living around the lakes should take up ownership and fight for the welfare of those lakes
- Create public awareness or assume extinction