National Green Tribunal (NGT) ordered shutdown of industrial units in Bellandur after it began day-to-day hearing on the matter of cleaning up the frothing lake on Wednesday. NGT also directed Karnataka government to clean Bellandur lake within one month.
On Tuesday, the green court had summoned Karnataka government about cleaning up the Bellandur lake, which started foaming on Friday. The foam had spread to the streets nearby and residents alleged that it was blinding motorists and could cause accidents.
"Why did the government departments block the implementation of NGT orders? How is the government plans to treat sewage and what kind of treatment is done right now," asked NGT on Tuesday. The case was taken suo moto in February following the Bellandur lake fire in February.
Only 230 out of 480 MLD sewage discharged into the late has been treated, Additional Chief Secretary of Urban Development had said in court. However, the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) contradicted the government's statement in the court. The NGT asked the both departments which of them were lying.
The court pulled up the government after a video of toxic foam from the lake flying around on the streets nearby went viral. The foam in the lake is swelling since Friday morning. Factory waste and sewage have propelled the water pollution levels in the city. In 2016, thousands of dead fish were found floating in Ulsoor lake.
"We have noticed that the foam usually starts to increase during the weekend and it spills around and hits the motorists," a resident nearby told the TOI. It has also been noticed that the foam increases after rains.
The green court has issued notices to the Centre, Bangalore Development Authority, Lake Development Authority (LDA), KSPCB, and other departments for not dealing with the sewage menace.
The 700.13-acre lake has been suffering for years and the various bodies have been shifting blame for the state of the lake.
"But there has been no progress. With the BWSSB not initiating any action, we are facing the brunt from the High Court of Karnataka," said a KPSCB official to the Hindu.
The BBMP had made a report on the development of the lake five years ago but it was "transferred to Bangalore Development Authority. For the past three years, no action has been initiated by either the BWSSB or the BDA," a BBMP official said.
Meanwhile, residents have been complaining to the various bodies to look into the matter but it has fallen on deaf ears.
Interim directions passed by the Tribunal today for Bellandur Lake:
1) All industries in the vicinity of Bellandur Lake (Old Bellandur Village) are directed to be closed forthwith. No industry will be permitted to operate unless allowed by Joint Inspection Team(JIT).
2) JIT may seal the industries with help of police and KSPCB.
3) No waste - Municipal solid, domestic, CMD shall be dumped into the Lake or in buffer zone (prescribed by NGT) around the lakes. If anybody found polluting/dumping, environmental compensation of Rs. 5 Lakhs per event to be imposed.
4) CEO of KLCDA, Commissioner BDA, UDD shall be personally responsible for implementation of the above directions.
5) Committee constituting senior officials of BDA, KLCDA and UDD not below rank of Addl. Secretary to ensure- one time cleaning of entire Bellandur Lake by carrying out:
b) Removal of waste - municipal solid, domestic, induatrial
c) surface cleaning including removal of chemicals Within One Month.
Committee may induct any Special Agency for execution of this task.
6) All local authorities have been directed to ensure no untreated sewage enters the Lake.
7) State will be entitled to invoke Polluter Pays Principle and direct developers to bear costs for transfer of sewage.
8) State of Karnataka to place before the Tribunal within a period of 2 weeks - Action Plan to completely prevent and control pollution in Bellandur Lake.