“Just like Body Mass Index (BMI) tells the health of human beings, why shouldn’t we have a lake health index to know the status of lakes?” Prof KS Bhat from Sarakki Lake Improvement Trust (Slait) tossed up this idea during an interactive session featuring Bengaluru’s lake champions, who were featured in ‘Bellandur & Beyond’, a threeweek series of reports highlighting individual and group efforts to reclaim waterbodies in different parts of the city.
Bellandur & Beyond has evoked tremendous response from readers, who say they are inspired to take up conservation of lakes in their neighbourhoods.
“The lake health index should be in terms of water quality, avian life, aquatic life, encroachment, security, status of wetlands and the lake bund. The government should work on this along with residents’ groups, for the rejuvenation and maintenance of lakes. With regular updates on the health index, the quality of all lakes will eventually improve,” said Prof Bhat.
The lake champions at the interaction session, from a humble grasscutter to a senior citizen who fought a twodecade long legal battle to save a waterbody, deliberated upon various steps other citizen groups and the government can take up to reclaim the lake legacy which IT City once boasted about.
Getting millennials on board
While most RWAs have senior citizens working for the development of waterbodies, lake activists feel the need to engage youngsters, including millennials, in lake activities in order to secure the future of the city’s waterbodies. “Every first Saturday of the month, we engage families in gardening, where children come with parents and grandparents to the lake area and take up gardening work, touch the soil and dirty their hands for nature’s cause. This is one of the activities that has brought many families closer to the lake in their vicinity,” said Divya Shetty, trustee, Puttenahalli Neighbourhood Lake Improvement Trust (PNLIT).
According to Nupur Jain, trustee, PNLIT, the mission to get youngsters to care for waterbodies can be achieved by conducting various activities. “We need to create awareness by conducting competitions and activities for school and college students,” she said.
Roads, bridges detrimental
Heated discussions during the interaction also highlighted the burning issues confronting Bengaluru’s lakes, such as the controversial proposed amendment to the Tank Development Act, which replaces the Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority. “The government has proposed to amend laws in such a way that roads, bridges and allied constructions could come up on the lake. This is detrimental to waterbodies. Lakes have been taken for granted by government agencies and no political party has understood the implications of such proposals. We oppose this move collectively,” said Ramprasad V, convener, Friends of Lakes.
The interactive session concluded with the point that Bellandur & Beyond, the TOI Lake series, is only the beginning of a sustainable fight to reclaim waterbodies in the city, and that they all hoped that more lake champions would bloom across the city in the coming days.
This is an unedited news that first appeared on timesofindia.indiatimes.com