Only 12 out of 60 floating islands remain in Puttenhalli lake in JP Nagar, told Environmentalist and Puttenhalli Neighbourhood Lake Improvement Trust (PNLIT) Chairperson Usha Rajagopalan to The Logical Indian. The islands which were created to keep the lake water healthy, are dying because of the direct release of sewage water into the lake.
“Floating islands can only sustain so much, the condition of the lake has deteriorated after the direct release of sewage water into the lake,” said Usha Rajagopalan.
In 2016, wetlands in the lake were replaced with floating islands. “It was difficult to maintain the plants in the wetlands, as unless the plants are taken out and replaced with bio-plants, it does not serve the purpose of a wetland,” said Usha.
Floating islands, on the contrary, can have different species of aquatic bio-filtration plants and are very easy to maintain. “So, when we found out that our artificial wetlands were working well, we got Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to clean up the wetland area and installed floating island all along the inner edge of the lake,” added Usha.
Condition of Puttenhalli Lake
Due to the continuous flow of sewage water in the lake, it is getting difficult for the workers to maintain the floating islands as well the lake.
Talking to The Logical Indian, Jaidunnisha, 45, caretaker of the lake, said, “The lake is being filled with sewage water from the apartment, there is a stench everywhere.”
Currently, there are two sources from where the water is being released into the lake: Aradhana layout and Natrajan Layout. Both of these places have underground drains but many of the individual houses have not attached their pipelines to drain chambers, says Usha.
“In March 2018, a lot of fish died due to release of untreated sewage waster into the lake, and that is when we met senior officers in KSPCB (Karnataka State Pollution Control Board) and BWSSB (Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board) and requested them to stop the sewage water coming into the lake,” added Usha.
Blaming the residents for not attaching their house pipes to drain chambers, Usha said, “Just issuing notices to the houses that are letting sewage water directly into the lake is not going to work. They have to be penalised for doing so. Because now what has happened is that individual house has broken up from the chambers and sewage water is directly led into the lake.”
Revival of Puttenhalli Lake
The dying lake was brought to life after Environmentalist Usha Rajagopalan started the ‘Save Our Lake’ initiative in 2008. Later, in 2011, the Initiative was converted into Puttenhalli Neighbourhood Lake Improvement Trust (PNLIT).
With the continuous effort through ‘Save Our Lake’ initiative, which involved sending multiple letters and email to BBMP authorities and reaching out to local MLA for help, the BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike) started rejuvenation process in 2009. While the rejuvenation process was still in process, BBMP in 2011, handed over maintenance of lake to PNLIT.