Namma Bengaluru Foundation - Citizens, experts, activists join hands to Save and Revive Bellandur Lake

Proposed solutions to restore Bengaluru’s largest waterbody to its former glory

 April 13 2016,  16.01 PM IST || Pocket News Alert

Bengaluru, April 13, 2016:  In a first of its kind people’s initiative to save the Bellandur Lake, Namma Bengaluru Foundation has brought together concerned citizens of Bengaluru, politicians, lake experts and activists all under one roof to chart a workable solutions action plan to bring the lake back to its former glory. The #SaveBellandur Action Plan document was handed over to Bengaluru Development and Town Planning Minister Mr. K.J George in presence of local citizens, officials, experts, village representatives, MPs  Mr. Rajeev Gowda, Mr. Rajeev Chandrasekhar and Mr. Yellappa Reddy, Former Secretary Dept of Ecology & Environment Karnataka

Namma Bengaluru Foundation - Citizens, experts, activists join hands to Save and Revive Bellandur Lake
 KJ George, Rajeev Chandrashekhar, Rajeev Gowda, Sridhar Pabbisetty, Yelappa Reddy

Namma Bengaluru Foundation - Citizens, experts, activists join hands to Save and Revive Bellandur Lake
 Mr. K J George Bangalore Development& Town Planning Minister

Namma Bengaluru Foundation - Citizens, experts, activists join hands to Save and Revive Bellandur Lake
 Rajeev Chandrashekhar , K J George, Rajeev Gowda, Yellappa Reddy

Namma Bengaluru Foundation - Citizens, experts, activists join hands to Save and Revive Bellandur Lake
 Rajeev Chandrashekhar, K J George, Rajeev Gowda, Sridhar Pabbisetty

Namma Bengaluru Foundation - Citizens, experts, activists join hands to Save and Revive Bellandur Lake
 Save Bellandur Action plan document, Sridhar Pabbisetty , Rajeev Chandrashekhar, K J George,Rajeev Gowda

Namma Bengaluru Foundation - Citizens, experts, activists join hands to Save and Revive Bellandur Lake

Save Bellandur Action Plan

What the Citizens Propose

The #SaveBellandur Action Plan lays down a series of action plans – mid-term and long-term - to rejuvenate Bellandur Lake with practical and viable actions over a reasonable timeline. The proposed solutions can also be used as a model to save other lakes of the city. The document also goes beyond saving aspect of Bellandur Lake to further emphasize the Phase II element where it proposes how the rejuvenated Bellandur Lake can become a much needed water source for large parts of Bengaluru that are not serviced by Cauvery waters.

Survive and Thrive

Owing to urbanization, change in land use pattern, under capacity of sewers, surcharged manholes, missing sewer network links and inadequate maintenance, Bellandur Lake has been polluted to an extent that has changed the water quality characteristics into a septic condition. The #SaveBellandur Action Plan charts out step wise solutions to ensure that the lake not only survives but also thrives by 1) Desilting accumulated sludge of the last three decades, 2) Developing natural wet lands and 3) Diverting and treating incoming sewage with a provision for treated water being used as tertiary water supply source. The Plan outlines that the estimated cost of rejuvenating Bellandur Lake would be Rs 400 crores with an implementation period of about 3 years.

Speaking at the occasion Mr. Sridhar Pabbisetty, CEO, Namma Bengaluru Foundation said, ‘Everyone has given up on the dying Bellandur Lake and has perceived it as a non-solvable problem. To save and rejuvenate Bellandur Lake a sound engineering solution is required and the proposed action plan incorporates a workable, tried and tested method which lays down a mechanism not only to save but also to rejuvenate Bellandur Lake with practical actions over a reasonable timeline.’

About Namma Bengaluru Foundation (NBF): NBF is an organization working towards making Bengaluru a model city, with well-planned infrastructure, well laid out neighborhood community models and people-driven governance measures. NBF aims to be the voice of the people; a voice that needs to be heard in order for Bengaluru to become a truly Global City. Contact us on 080-41102757 or mail us on
An Open Letter to Bengalureans from Bellandur Lake
My Dear Friends and Fellow Bengalureans,
Warm (or perhaps ‘fiery’) greetings from me.
Possibly I do not need an introduction. Nevertheless, for those who still don’t know me: I’m the disrepute of Bengaluru - the frothy, foamy, toxic-filled, foul-smelling Bellandur Lake, which many claim has put Namma Bengaluru to shame on international landscapes.
Let me say, I owe this claim-to-fame to:
1.       the city’s mindless administrative machinery
2.      unlawful encroachers
3.      all those who consider dumping waste (solid, liquid or industrial) in my waters their birth right!
For over 20 years now, while you have seen rapid development all around, I lay unattended silently paying the price for this unprecedented urbanization. My dear friends, do you know - Article 21 of our Constitution states clean air, water and environment to be the fundamental right of citizens of India? I wonder why these fundamental rights aren’t applied to the country’s natural resources like me! Have none of your grandparents told you they drank water from me and played by my side in their childhood, decades ago? I wonder, how am I less important in your life today after having been a part of Bengaluru for so long?
Bengaluru has grown beyond reasonable predictions, but there’s been a sharp decline of 79% in its waterbodies between 1973 and 2013, affecting the physical, chemical and biological integrity of our city. But that’s not what you should be shocked about. I have something more dreadful to share.

I Am Exceedingly Poisonous Now.

My waters are harmful and so contaminated that coming in close contact with me will prove damaging to you. The concentration of acids, bases and salts in my waters is 1592.0 μs/cm, which is 3 times over the desirable limit and with the alkalinity ranging between 500 to 600 mg/l, you cannot dare imagine to drink of me anymore! Hang on, the horror doesn’t end here. My activist friends have informed me that my coliform count at present is greater than 1600 MPN/100 ml, which means I am choking on a bacteria that is typically found in our environment – including feces of human beings and other warm-blooded animals. Further, my E.coli levels that should normally bear no trace stand at 110 MPN/100 ml, which shows I am carrying disease-causing micro-organisms putting all of you to great risk.

Friends, these figures are no joke. If you reside near me or if you’ve been in contact with me in recent times, then chances are you have fallen victim to waterborne infections causing nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. You would have or will also suffer other severe effects and in extreme cases, my pollutants could damage your lungs, skin, eyes, kidneys, nervous system and prove to harm you in more ways than one!

To be honest, I’m weary and as frustrated as you are with the way government agencies like Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB), Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), Karnataka Industrial Area Developmental Board (KIADB) etc. have responded to my deteriorating health. Perfect in the act of passing the buck, they have quietly and criminally signed my death warrant. I’m suffocated by indiscriminate disposal of industry effluents & sewage wastes, building debris and all the poison that’s being dumped into me without any treatment.

I am dying gradually and extremely painfully, but the authorities clearly are least concerned! I too wanted development, but illegal and reckless encroachment on my lake bed has caused me unmeasurable harm. Does anyone care that I’ve been ripped down from 892 acres to 700 acres in quick time? Also, no one is bothered about maintaining the 30.0 meter ‘No-development Buffer Zone’ around me, which would have at least served as protection.
I find activists and friends who come to me shouting slogans, giving me a ray of hope. I’ve also felt the concerned touch of a handful of scientists, engineers and ecologists. But I fear that all this may be too little, too late!

I heard a little bird once say, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” I beg to differ and want to scream out saying: I’M NO LONGER CAPABLE OF ACCEPTING THINGS I CANNOT CHANGE. IT’S NOW TIME TO CHANGE THE THINGS I CANNOT ACCEPT. But I can fight only if YOU help me right now, my friends.

Death is not too far away from me. It is a matter of time before I become a thing of the past and the world will then know me as “Bellandur - the Lake that was”. With the Cauvery unable to cater to all your water needs and with groundwater levels falling at an alarming rate, I am perhaps your only hope. I’m Bengaluru’s largest waterbody and restoring me is one real way you and I can ensure better times for our city.

As citizens of Bengaluru, it is your responsibility to stall the irrational encroachment of land in the name of development; it is also your duty to restrict decision makers from misusing their discretion and allowing unchecked pollution and land grabbing; it is for you to safeguard the natural resources of our city and above all it is your actions in time that can change the course of our future.

I will be happy to hear from you, for your support matters. Do write to me on how you think I can fight this battle for survival. Science, engineering, legal means or through policy - do share your opinions in the comments box below. I will ask a few expert friends of mine to take a look at these, while I remain eternally thankful to you.

Let me conclude by saying, we don’t remember days of our lives, we remember moments. And I’d like to forget and erase these terrible years of poisonous life that I have been living. This would be possible only if you help me get a fresh lease of life.

Yours forever and foamingly,
Bellandur Lake

Saving and rejuvenating Bellandur Lake with practical and viable actions

The killing of Bellandur Lake is a sad representation of the rampant neglect and exploitation that is destroying our city, making it unlivable and pushing it to a stage of multiple crisis, like Public health and water - signs of which are already evident.

Many decades of neglecting a fundamental issue of Waste treatment capacities for a growing city has rendered this once life nurturing lake into a public health and environmental catastrophe.

The lake being the largest water body has a special place in Bengaluru, once also known as ‘Lake City’ with a chain of natural and manmade lake systems that supported a natural drainage system. For several decades, citizens depended on this network of waterbodies for their daily needs.
Unplanned growth of the city without proper planning has brought us into this precarious situation. Huge volumes of untreated sewage flowing into the lake over a long period, inadequate treatment capacity and encroachment by developers are causes for this crisis and is being repeated elsewhere in many other lakes in the city. If we are to fix this problem, this needs to be undone and remedial measures and investments put in place in a systematic way.

Namma Bengaluru Foundation (NBF) engaged with elected representatives and officials and discovered the lack of shared vision and holistic understanding of the problem as also the lacking solutions approach. Hence, NBF worked with the locals, experts and activists over the past few months over intense deliberations and following an evidence based approach to evolve a total solutions methodology to #SaveBellandur Lake and rejuvenate it to its once pristine glory.

The debate and discourse in Bengaluru tends to be only around transportation and mobility. While that is an important issue, the environmental and public health damages caused by lack of investments in Waste Management is more permanent and impacts both public health and environment. The lack of investments by successive governments in this area is obvious today, as untreated sewage is dumped into what were once vibrant lakes. The people and media of Bengaluru must wake up to these equally immediate challenges, other than transportation and mobility issues.
 The #SaveBellandur Action Plan focuses on rejuvenating Bellandur Lake with practical and viable actions and investments over a fixed period of time. Desilting accumulated sludge of the last three decades, developing natural wet lands, diverting and treating incoming sewage with a provision for treated water being used as a tertiary water supply source are major aspects of the Plan. For long term sustainability, a comprehensive action plan for harmonizing similar rejuvenation efforts in the upstream 49 lakes is essential and is outlined as Phase 2 of the Plan. And so, it is further proposed that this comprehensive and holistic solution for the Koramangala-Challagatta Valley should be replicated in the other valleys of the city.

The policymakers and those in Government must intervene now. The cost of inaction to this potential looming crisis is high and it is time to finally wake up to this problem and to save our city for the present and future generations.