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NGT Orders Shutdown Of Industrial Units In Bellandur

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) ordered all industrial units in Bellandur to shut down. Despite promising swift measures after the Bellandur fire, civic authorities have admitted that only half the sewage pumped into the lake since then has been treated, leading to toxic froth and other problems

Toxic froth covered the Bellandur lake causing problems for its residents
  • This is the second such incident after the February toxic fire
  • Industries and residential apartments dump untreated sewage in the lake
  • Th NGT reprimanded the authorities following the fire incident

The National Green Tribunal (NGT), on April 19, ordered all industrial units situated in Bellandur to be shut down. Bengaluru’s infamous Bellandur lake, which saw the outbreak of a massive toxic fire in February 2017 is in the news once again. Toxic foam was spilled yet again, causing severe problems for the residents of the area. The lake was covered in froth, a lot of which spilled on to the roads, carried by the wind. This is the second time in the year when Bellandur lake has been in news for severe mismanagement of untreated sewage continuously flowing from industries and apartments in Bengaluru. Though the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) and Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) had promised swift measures after severe criticism for their roles in the Bellandur fire, it seems the problem of untreated sewage is back to haunt them again.

The froth incident is being investigated, though it happens every time there is massive discharge of sewage into the lake. We are looking at whether the sewage discharge increased in the last few days which resulted in this accumulation of froth. But our priority now is explaining our report to the NGT on why the pollution levels in the lake have reached such unprecedented levels, said S Shanthappa, Member Secretary, Karnataka State Pollution Control Board.

The unprecedented dumping of untreated sewage in the lake has been an ongoing problem for nearly two decades and has only risen with growing urbanization. Despite joint efforts by the BDA and the KSPCB, the situation has not improved. Both, industries around Bellandur, and residential apartments dispose their waste in the lake on a regular basis. Only 230 million litres out of 480 million litres, that is less than half the sewage generated since the February 2017 fire has been treated by sewage treatment plants. It is not surprising that the toxic froth keeps accumulating in the lake.

The froth is no longer restricted to the lake as it came on to the roads and even inside the apartment over the weekend. Motorists especially had a tough time as the froth tends to spill and hit them while driving, said Lahari Anvekar, a 28-year-old resident of Bellandur.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) had pulled up all the civic bodies responsible for the lake’s situation and had asked for an affidavit explaining the steps being taken to preserve the lakes in the city. The NGT had once again pulled up the civic bodies on April 12, along with the state government, reprimanding them for their inaction in addressing the issue of waste disposal in the lake.

Last month, the KSPCB had submitted a report to the NGT with regard to the dumping of sewage in the lake. The report held the BDA as responsible for not having enough sewage treatment capacity to check the disposal of untreated sewage into the lake. The NGT has directed the KSPCB to explain its report and findings in detail.

While civic authorities are involved in a blame game, untreated sewage continues to be dumped into the lake and it is only a matter of time before the lake overflows with toxic froth again.

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