The National Green Tribunal (NGT) had ordered immediate shut down of industries around bellandur lake on April 19, and had imposed Rs 5 lakh fine on anyone found dumping waste in and around the lake.
Despite the National Green Tribunal’s order, there seems to be no deterrence among contractors. But the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) sprung into action and levied its first penalty of Rs 5 lakh on a contractor for dumping trash. It also suspended the health officer concerned.
“We are going to take strict action against anybody found dumping garbage or debris in the lake,” Sarfaraz Khan, BBMP Joint Commissioner (solid waste management), said, reported The New Indian Express.
BBMP plans to curb the dumping menace with the five cameras installed, six security guards and two Prahari vigilance vehicles. But the locals who have been closely monitoring all the activities opine they hardly see of any these guards or the vigilance vehicles.
Professor T V Ramachandra, IISc, an expert on lake issues, visited the lake on Wednesday to check on the de-weeding work. But he was highly disappointed with the lack of ecological and technical know-how of the contractor. Vested interests still might be playing a big role in the clean-up process as well, he claimed.
Bellandur residents plan to meet the Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority (KLCDA) CEO Vidyasagar to discuss the future course of action.
Vidyasagar had previously stated, “These people who have been dumping debris or garbage are a smart lot. They know where the cameras are installed and hence dump in other areas around the lake. This happens especially at night. I have directed BBMP to charge them under the KLCDA Act which makes dumping of debris a cognizable offence which can lead to three years of imprisonment.”
Bellandur Lake is the largest of Bengaluru’s 262 lakes. It receives about 40% of the city’s sewage. The lake is polluted with toxic chemicals from factories, taking in about 500 million litres of untreated sewage water each day. Unauthorised dumping of construction waste, mixed garbage waste, including dry and wet waste and open faeces has turned the land into a breeding ground for diseases and toxic emissions. The lake’s current state of drastic pollution is directly linked to the actions of 25% of the city’s population.
Residents around the lake have been voicing their complaints since the toxic waste materials dumped in the lake had started catching fire, thus immensely polluting the air.
Apart from imposing a fine of Rs 5 lakh and ordering industries around the lake to shut down in its April 19 order, the NGT had also asked the Karnataka government, the State Pollution Control Board, Lake Development Authority, and Bengaluru Development Authority to start cleaning the lake immediately of all pollutants, and report back in one month.
The recent fine imposed is a welcome move as the lake needs to be rid of pollutants and cleaned at the earliest.