Quintals of solid waste continue to be emptied into the Shahpura lake despite the National Green Tribunal directive to protect and clean the water body. The gross neglect exposes the tall claims of the local authorities just a day before the green panel is to hear the case on Tuesday.
During a spot check on Monday, HT found that a nullah from the Ekant Park area directly releases sewage into the lake. Environmentalist Subash Pandey, who had filed a case on environmental deterioration of the lake with the NGT in 2013, said: “Despite NGT directions, the Shahpura lake is dying and gradually turning into a gutter.”
Chairman of the NGO Global Earth Society for Environmental Energy and Development, Pandey added that the “pathetic condition” of lake, located in the heart of the city, was “symptomatic of what was wrong with the approach of the government in general towards water bodies in Bhopal.”
“When it suits the authorities, they call it a lake, but when they are questioned about its rising pollution level, they say it is an oxidation pond, meant to cleanse the sewage water,” he said.
The NGT had directed the local authorities on September 19, 2014 to ensure cleaning of the lake in two phases.
“It is a great irony that the authorities are yet to start work on most of the fronts. Even the metal mesh at the Panchsheel Nallah is no longer there and solid wastes are directly entering the lake,” Pandey said.
In February last year, a five-member monitoring committee, appointed by NGT to monitor the cleaning process of Shahpura lake, had expressed disappointment over the condition of Shahpura lake.
Chief scientific officer at Environmental Planning and Coordination Organisation, Sanjeev Sachdev, who was part of the monitoring committee, said that Shahpura lake can be saved only when sewerage treatment plants are constructed after channelisation of the nullahs around it. “Till then the authorities can stop flow of solid waste into the lake by putting gabion structure on all the five nullahs that flow into the lake.”
He said that according to rough estimates over five million litres of sewage flows from Panchsheel nullah directly into the Shahpura water per day. Despite repeated attempts the BMC officials could not be reached for comments.