Bengaluru's water bodies are in the spotlight once again after its Varthur Lake caught fire at three different spots on Sunday afternoon. 

Local residents told News Minute that smoke emanating from the fire entered their homes and sometimes spread as far as 2kms from the lake.

The incident has occurred at a time when migratory birds flock the city and make its lakes their habitats for several months. Environmentalists are predicting that the wetlands in Varthur Lake may have caught fire and could also destroy the nests of the migratory birds.

Varthur Lake had also caught fire in 2017. Several environmental activists say that the lakes in Bengaluru catch fire due to the chemicals and garbage dumped there.

"It is highly likely that the illegal settlements around these lakes are causing the pollution there as they do waste segregation near these water bodies and dump the left-over garbage into the lake. This really is a black day in the history of Varthur Lake," Jagdish Reddy, an environmentalist, told India Today.

"Besides the garbage deposition, the lakes are also polluted with the construction, demolition materials, human faeces and other effluents," he added.

Bellandur Lake, infamous for extreme pollution levels, had caught fire more than 10 times in 2018. The environmental activists have attributed consistent inflow of untreated sewage and industry effluents into the water body as the main reason behind the fires. 

Varthur lake in South-east Bengaluru caught fire on Sunday afternoon, which has become a cause of concern for he citizens and activists in the cityANI/Twitter

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has already slapped a Rs 50 crore fine on Karnataka government for neglecting Bellandur and Varthur lakes. They say the fires not only destroy the ecology of the water bodies but also harm humans.

The environment watchdog has also ordered a fine of Rs 5 lakh on people who dump garbage into these lakes. 

A recent study by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, has said that almost 98 per cent of the lakes in Bengaluru are polluted with sewage and chemicals and almost 90 per cent of these lakes are encroached.

Watch the Varthur lake catching fire here: