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Citizen-Led Plantation Drive Brings Bengaluru's Jakkur Lake Back To Life

In last few decades, rampant growth in industrialisation and urbanisation has unfortunately led to deterioration of water bodies like lakes, rivers and ponds. With rapid changes in climate, growth in population and pollution, India's major water bodies, both natural and man-made are at severe risk. One such lake was the Jakkur lake in Bengaluru. People's bad habit of dumping waste directly into the lake even led to the disappearance of exotic species of birds. To reverse the degrading condition of Jakkur lake, a group of citizens started a plantation drive in 2014.

Hundreds of citizens came together and formed Jalaposhan organisation to clean and beautify the area around the lake in 2014. In the first year itself, the organisation managed to plant more than 1000 trees. With an increase in awareness about the plantation drives, people from all over the city started planting trees on special occasions like birthdays, in memory of their loved ones. Besides, educational institutions and corporates also offer their volunteering services to the cause from time to time.
In the last four years, the citizens have planted more than 300 varieties of medicinal and aromatic herbs and shrubs like Palash Buruga, neem, kumkum, bottle brush, banyan and peepul along the lake. Creation of herbal hedging along a community zone that acts a natural fence around the lake. The Jakkur lakes also has flowering trees, nectar and host of trees for butterflies and insects.
The organisation uses lake water to water the plants. Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike has provided overhead tanks and irrigation lines for the same. Manure comes from nearby apartments who convert their wet waste into compost on a regular basis.
As for the funds to purchase the plant saplings, many corporates and environment-conscious citizens have come forward to contribute. When people express their desire to financially contribute, the trust makes sure that they educate them about conserving the plants as well.
To preserve the trees, the organisation conducts cleanliness drives every Saturday where volunteers participate and help in de-weeding, pruning and watering the plants at the lake. A women's self-help group called ?Jala Sevika' has been roped in to monitor the maintenance activities of the lake.
The plantation drive has revived the Jakkur lake and exotic birds like pelican, red avadavat are back. The lake has spotted 197 species of birds according to the organisation. The lake is now considered to be among top six for bird biodiversity in Bengaluru.