Sewage chokes Hebbal Lake – Star of Mysore

Lake filled with untreated effluents, plastic, animal waste

Mysore/Mysuru: Dumping of untreated sewage is impacting the ecosystem of the once clean and green Hebbal Lake. Black sewage, animal waste, plastic bottles and containers have been let out into the Lake through a major inlet and every day, gallons of untreated sewage enters the lake, killing it slowly.

Sewage flows from the Vijayanagar Water Tank area and surrounding places and many times dead animals are dumped into the waters along with animal waste discarded from meat shops. As a result, a horrible stink permeates the Lake and many a time, walkers have to cover their nostrils during their routine strolls.

Unfortunately, it is the same Lake that was dying years ago and was rejuvenated, boundaries fixed and beautified by Infosys Foundation. Now the situation is turning worse and the vast water body, home to many migratory birds, is choking,  dying slowly.

New lease of life: The 54-acre Hebbal Lake was given a new lease of life by the Infosys Foundation which spent a whopping Rs. 107 crore. As part of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative, money was pumped in to revive, beautify and infuse fresh water into the water body after blocking polluting industrial and commercial waste-carrying channels.

The Foundation, under the Chairmanship of Sudha Murty (now she is not the Chairperson), tied up with Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) and incorporated various works and technologies, including six Sewage Treatment Plants (STP), which fully recycle sewage before leaving it to the Lake. STPs collect more than 90 lakh litres of polluting water and release the treated water every day into the Lake.

After rejuvenation, the Infosys Foundation was maintaining the Lake. As part of the Lake rejuvenation project, the Infosys Foundation also enabled support infrastructure including walkways, permanent fence walls, lighting, garbage disposal, drinking water facility, parks, and tree covers.

MCC urged to divert sewage to STP

While the STP effectively controls the sewage flow from many inlets into the Lake, a major inlet is causing pollution as it is carrying sewage, plastic and animal waste into Lake on a daily basis. Though a protective wall blocks the entry of plastic and is collected around it, during rain and due to heavy water flow, the plastic waste gets into the Lake.

However, there is no protection to prevent the entry of sewage and animal waste. Sources said that the Infosys Foundation had asked the MCC to divert the sewage entry into STP from residential areas so that it can be cleaned and treated water can be let into the Lake.

But the MCC has not so far responded to the Infosys Foundation’s request. “Sudha Murty is upset and has stayed away from the Lake. Moreover, now she is not the Infosys Foundation Chairperson. After spending so much money by the Foundation, the MCC has not bothered to heed the Foundation’s request,” a source in the know of things told Star of Mysore.

KSPCB fails to act

It may be recalled here that last summer, woken up by thousands of dead and rotting fish at the Lake, officials from the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) collected samples of water that enters the Lake.

They said that heavy water with a heady mix of industrial effluents caused the fish death as untreated effluents are released directly into the Lake. The KSPCB officers collected water samples from around the Lake and also collected samples where the largest concentration of fish death occurred. The officers promised to initiate action based on the water testing report. But nothing was done.

Initial testing of water samples showed high values of faecal coliform than the permissible limit, indicating discharge of untreated sewage into the Lake, which is considered one of the critical water bodies of Mysuru.

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