Centre makes sewage treatment mandatory to save Bengaluru’s dying lakes

[] In a move to preserve Bengaluru’s numerous lakes and conserve the city’s water resources, the centre has announced that residential group housing projects or apartments in the city, cannot discharge untreated sewage into the lakes

With half of Bengaluru’s effluent discharged into the lakes untreated, the centre, on June 14, 2016, approved a series of measures for checking pollution, including making it mandatory for all sewage treatment plants (STPs) to install round-the-clock monitoring systems and appointment of lake wardens for involving the public in conservation efforts.

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It has also been decided that all residential group housing projects or apartments in the city, with more than 20 units and total built-up area of 2,000 sq metres, will have to install STPs.

“There are 3-4 issues which, as a regulatory ministry, we will deal with. We will put a condition of 24/7 monitoring on existing and future STPs, including residential and commercial ones and on lake water quality. Norms will be upgraded. There was also a demand for an over-arching law for lake preservation and so we will consider that. We will monitor the progress every six months,” union minister Prakash Javadekar said, after co-chairing a two-hour review meeting for preservation and rejuvenation of city lakes with union minister Ananth Kumar, who is the MP from Bengaluru. Karnataka’s environment and ecology minister, Ramanath Rai, along with other state officials, were present at the meeting.

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Pollution in Bengaluru

There are 75 small and large lakes in and around Bengaluru. Recently, thousands of dead fish were washed ashore at Ulsoor lake, raising concerns about water pollution in the city. Thick froth and flames from the Yamlur lake, had caused ripples in the city last year.

Ministry sources said the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) had last year, issued directions to the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board on contamination of Bellandur and Varthur lakes. The CPCB, under section 18 (1)(b) of the Water Act, had directed that all local bodies in Karnataka will have to establish STPs. The waste water can only be released into water bodies after treating it. The ministry had earlier mandated 764 ‘grossly polluting’ industries along the Ganga river in northern states, to install 24/7 monitoring mechanisms to curb pollution.

Existing and proposed measures

Javadekar said the corporate sector is also being involved, in the effort to conserve and preserve the lakes in Bengaluru. Listing out the initiatives taken by the state government in this regard, Javadekar said it has banned plastic, formed an authority and prepared a lake-by-lake restoration plan with a timeline.

“Local officers will also be empowered. Half of Bengaluru’s sewage goes untreated into the lakes. So we will build capacities. This will take three years,” Javadekar said.

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Union minister Kumar added that the environment minister has assured him of bio-development of the lakes in Bengaluru, which will include oxygenation of the lakes. “We will remove all pollution through STPs and various other measures,” he said.

Other measures include reuse of treated sewage for various purposes, implementation of dual piping systems in apartments and commercial establishments for reuse of treated sewage, regular monitoring of STPs by the State Pollution Control Board and the appointment of ‘lake wardens’ for involvement of the public in the conservation of lakes.

The environment ministry has also decided to develop the Madivala Lake as a biodiversity park, on the lines of the Yamuna Biodiversity Park, under the guidance of the Karnataka Knowledge Commission. The ministry has also approved the retrofitting of existing STPs to meet the revised effluent norms and proper management of plastic waste to ensure that it is not dumped in the lakes.

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Category: Lifestyle

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