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Corporates and NGOs to set up sewage treatment plant to keep Vartur lake foam free

Whatever corporates and NGOs may do to clean up contaminated lakes, it will be wasted if encroachers are not tackled with strictly.

Deepa Balakrishnan | CNN-IBNdeepab18

Updated:February 23, 2016, 1:47 PM IST
Corporates and NGOs to set up sewage treatment plant to keep Vartur lake foam free
Picture used for representational purpose.

Bengaluru: The corporates and NGOs have come together with a ‘Wake the Lake’ initiative, starting with setting up a sewage treatment plant for one of the lakes that feed the Varthur lake in south east Bengaluru. The lake is close to the tech-corridor of IT city. It is the first time a corporate is setting up a sewage treatment plant for a lake in the city.

Spanning 30 acres and 80 feet deep, the Kundalahalli lake in south east Bengaluru is nestled between tech-parks and multinational giants. It is one of the smaller lakes that feed into the mammoth Varthur lake that is now infamous across the world for its frothing. But the Kundalahalli lake is also dying with water having turned black, very few birds and debris all around. The last Monday saw an MNC come forward to launch a sewage treatment plant at a cost of Rs One Crore to treat sewage from nearby areas that gets into the lake.

Puneet Singh, Director (Engineering) Qualcomm India, said, "You really have to do something that is touching so many lives. And we have been doing CSR for long and we have a lot of issues with lakes. Every year it seems to be getting a little worse. So we thought why not join hands with government, citizens, Whitefield rising, other businesses and try and tackle."

The first of its kind STP, entirely sponsored by a company, is slated to get operational by June. It will, however, not have the capacity to handle the over 1000 kilo-litres per day of sewage generated from these areas. But activists of Whitefield Rising, who have been campaigning for a lake-clean-up over the past year, say this is a big step towards cleaner lakes.

Arvind Keerthi, an activist with Whitefield Rising said, "It’s important because it’s a densely populated village. Kundalahalli village generates a lot of sewage… and it is upstream of Varthur and contributes to Varthur. So if you put sewage treatment plants in lakes that are upstream to Varthur, not only does this become pure, those downstream also get clear water."

A second STP is being funded by another MNC, while NGOs are working with corporate to fund sewage treatment plants for lakes in the areas where they are. But activists like S Gopal, who have seen builders dumping construction debris everyday, say sewage treatment is just one aspect. The basic damage to the lakes by encroachers is still going unchecked.

S Gopal says that everyday one or two trucks come and dump construction debris but even locals have no idea where they come from. He adds that all they know is that it is decreasing the lake area for the past one month.

The mountain of debris has been dumped by builders over the past few years and whatever well-meaning corporates and NGOs may do to clean up contaminated lakes, it will be wasted if encroachers are not tackled with strictly and that needs one thing – a political will.

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