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Toxic foams and fire bursting out of Bellandur lake, India

toxic-foams-and-fire-bursting-out-of-bellandur-lake-india

Bellandur Lake, the largest lake in the city of Bangalore, India, is extremely polluted by a high amount of ammonia and phosphate while a very low amount of dissolved oxygen and refuse waters from across the city make the situation even worse. 

To an observer, the 36 km (22 miles) wide lake visually appears as if the snow is covering a mountain. This deceptive appearance of large, white foam covering the water surface, is a very rare and unnatural phenomenon resulting from extremely toxic, untreated, chemical depositions.

Video credit: Sanjith Shetty

Toxicity is so high that lake keeps frothing, and the foam even spills across the nearby roads during episodes of heavy rainfall and strong winds, such as the latest one on September 28, 2015. Just a week ago the froth has risen to a height of one meter, local eyewitness reported.

“Every time it rains and the water flows, the froth raises and navigating this stretch becomes risky. Due to the froth, visibility is reduced and the area also smells bad,” Vishruth, a resident of Yemlur who lives about 30 metres from the lake, said.

Video credit: NDTV

Due to all the grease, oils and detergents in the froth, the lake occasionally bursts into flames, giving a real horror-movie like display for the local residents. This occurred at end of May, 2015 during the protest of residents living near the lake.

Mayor N Manjunath Reddy said he had directed stormwater drains engineers to investigate the area, coordinate with Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) and file a report.

Video credit: Public TV

“The issue is that the lake falls under BDA and so we will summon the engineers to seek details. I have also asked BBMP stormwater drain officials to ensure that sewage flow into the SWD, which is connected to nearly 40 stormwater drains, is reduced before it reaches Bellandur lake. The BWSSB will also be called to keep a check on the sewage going into the lakes,” he said.

“We will ask them about the process of setting up of sewage treatment plants to divert sewage from these stormwater drains,” Mayor added.

Authorities have said that unfortunately no quick solution can be found for cleaning the lake, and that recovery will be a long process.

Featured image: Bellandur lake catching on fire, May 18, 2015. Image credit: Public TV

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