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Frothing Bellandur lake: How long can we live this way, ask Bengaluru residents

With foam blanketing the roads and neighbourhoods and stench becoming unbearable, many residents being forced to drive through the carcinogenic froth that causes respiratory difficulties

india Updated: Aug 17, 2017 17:06 IST
Vikram Gopal
Vikram Gopal
Hindustan Times, Bengaluru
Bangalore lake,Bengaluru lake,Bangalore pollution
A woman watches as froth from the polluted Bellandur lake in Bengaluru is blown into her housing complex.(Arijit Sen/ HT Photo)

Scores of residents in Bengaluru are spending long hours agonising over the toxic clouds of foam spewing out of two of the city’s largest lakes. With foam blanketing the roads and neighbourhoods, many are being forced to drive through the carcinogenic froth that causes respiratory difficulties.

Frothing at the city’s now-infamous Bellandur and Varthur lake reappeared on Wednesday on the back of good rainfall through the week. Residents now say they are not only finding foam blown into their complexes but are also dealing with its side-effects.

Sonal Solanki, a local resident, said the stench from the local was a constant reminder of the toxic waste that was present nearby. “Nothing is being done about these lakes,” she said. “Clouds of froth are blown into our complex by the wind and it’s common sight to see this froth floating on our swimming pool.”

There was an air of desperation from the residents, who are yet to see results from the government’s renewed efforts to rejuvenate the lakes.”The government must do something for us, how long can we live this way,” said Sunaina Ubale.

For Vijay, a local newspaper vendor, the froth has now become a part of life. “Earlier we used to worry about the foam touching our body, because it causes rashes. But we have realised there is no escaping it,” he said.

“The only thing the authorities have done is to build a fence. But last night the foam came on to the road anyway because of a gap in the fence,” Vijay said.

According to TV Ramachandra, faculty at the Indian Institute of Science here, who has conducted extensive research on the lakes of Bengaluru, there can no solution till the bureaucracy is reformed.”There is no will to rejuvenate lakes, and every move is thwarted because of those who refuse to accept that there is a problem.”

Ramachandra said the industrial and domestic sewage dumped into the lake had caused an increase in phosphorous and nitrogen content in the water.

“While the nitrogen is absorbed by the weed in the lakes, the phosphorous, which comes from detergents, gets deposited on the lake bed. When churning happens because of heavy rain, as has been the case over the past week, there is an increase in froth,” Ramachandra said the froth was indeed toxic.”We ourselves faced a lot of problems when we went there to study the lakes. All of us had rashes on our skin,” he said.

Ramachandra said this was nothing compared to the plight of the local residents. “Our study has shown that there is very high nitrate content on ground water in the area, and nitrates are carcinogenic.”

First Published: Aug 17, 2017 17:05 IST