Ulsoor lake turns into garbage bin as water recedes

The onset of summer is turning out to be a nemesis for Ulsoor Lake. The water body, which remains at the centre of cleanliness campaigns by various citizen organisations, is once again becoming a dumping spot. With the water level receding, the periphery of the lake as well as the small islands that have emerged in the middle are being used as sites to throw, or even burn, garbage.

Residents of the area say it is the civic workers who are responsible for polluting the water body. Ulsoor Lake has been divided into different parts that are under separate authorities, including the irrigation department and the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). A large portion of the lake, which falls under the Army, has been maintained well, while the littered portions come under the BBMP, say citizens.

“We have been observing the lake for 15 days, and every day around 6am, we see that garbage is dumped. Now, even plastic waste is being burnt inside the lake since water has receded,” said Joseph Hoover, an environmentalist and water conservationist.

BBMP’s forest department, however, denied that it is disposing rubbish in the lake. “Though we are maintaining the lake, we are not dumping any waste in it. The Solid Waste Management (SWM) department should be questioned. The workers involved in garbage segregation could be burning the garbage,” Jagannath Rao, Deputy Conservator of Forest, BBMP, said.

BBMP ward corporator Saravana also blamed the officials for not taking action. “We have been contacting senior officers to clean the lake. We have also sent a letter to the commissioner but haven’t received a response yet,” he said.

The lake was cleaned by a group of residents and NCC cadres in January this year.Now, Ulsoor Lake has gone from “bad to worse,” with no agency taking responsibility, Poonish Mehra, a resident of the area, said, adding that CCTV cameras need to be installed to prevent people, including vendors, from throwing garbage in it.

D Randeep, special commissioner (Solid Waste Management) said, “The DCF has not reported any incident to me. I will check with AEE of Ulsoor and find out since we do not have the GPS tracking system for garbage tippers yet. We are going to bring in a SWM data centre that will track the whereabouts of these vehicles. It should come into place after the elections.”

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