The water bodies in Bangalore consist of lakes and groundwater. When we talk about lakes, we talk only about the ones that are visible to us; when we dig wells, we get water from the lakes which are invisible to us. Bangalore used to be home to close to 1,500 lakes, out of which only 100 remain.
“We used to swim in these lakes and use their water for daily activities, but today, they are all contaminated with metal. In the 60s, the authorities ignored the lakes and most of the wells dried up. They were ignored for many reasons and they didn’t expect that we will ever face a shortage of water. Our officials should take charge of things and take care of the existing lakes. Our education system is not providing us the proper information required for saving our environment. Everyone seems bothered only about their work,” says Sandeep Anirudh.
Earlier, Bangalore had three rivers, of which two were Dakshina Pinakini towards Hosur, and Arkavathi towards Mysore. “In those days, it was planned so well that water could be saved for a full year. But later, in the name of urbanisation, many industries were established and the disposal of waste meant dumping into these rivers, which polluted them.” Today, if you travel towards Mysore, you cannot stand beside the water bodies because the stench is strong. Not only that, even Belandur and Varthur lakes carry high levels of solid content, heavy metals, and other harmful chemicals.
“We need to have a proper structure in place with rules that have to be implemented strictly to save our water bodies and rejuvenate the ones still surviving. Industrial waste and drainage waste are all connected to ‘raja kaluvaes’ and from there on, they are routed to lakes. We have to stop the use of chemicals at homes as well as in industries.” Another factor to worry about is soil erosion which removes the top-most layer. “All these things need to be taught as part of our education syllabus.”