All Is Not Well With India’s Water Bodies

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Nobel laureate Albert Szent-Gyorgyi said, "Water is life's mater and matrix, mother and medium," couldn't hold truer today. If we annihilate our lakes and rivers and all that grows in them, how will we, as a people, survive?

The above picture seems to be picture of expanse of snow looking all flaky and snow white! How dumb though!

Remember Bellundur lake, it is picture of once upon a time largest lake of Bangalore. Yes, the lake seems to be making headlines for all wrong reasons. This beautiful lake has gradually transformed into a sewage tank. On 19 January 2018 lake caught fire for the fourth time since 2015 and it seems nothing is bothering deep slumber of authorities. Untreated sewage and industrial effluents are being dumped into the lake which has led to the formation of methane gas hence the fire. This wailing condition of lake has made life hell of residents living nearby because of toxicants and stench smell. This nightmare situation of lake is due to apathy of authorities and residents as well.

This is not story of Bellundur Lake only; almost all lakes in India are dying and are on the verge of extinction. In Bangalore itself 51 lakes existed in the year 1985, the number has reduced to mere 17 out of which most of these lakes have become polluted and water in these lakes doesn’t look like water anymore. Ulsoor Lake in Bangalore used to be favourite spot for boat riding. It also made headlines for wrong reasons when more than one lakh dead fish washed ashore. The fish died because of asphyxiation (state of being deprived of oxygen) caused due to presence of higher levels of nitrogen.

Turning our attention to other metropolitan cities and the story is not different there.

Powai Lake though an artificial lake, is situated in the Powai valley in Mumbai. It used to be one of the pristine lakes of Mumbai, but now water quality has degraded. In the report released by Ministry of environment pollution level at Powai lake is 8 times above safe limit. The water is declared unfit for drinking.

Same is situation with Kolkata’s Rabindra Sarobar Lake, referred as “Lungs of Kolkata”; faces serious encroachment from slum dwellers. The pH level and temperature of water has changed due to idol immersions, toxic pollutants, open defecation and dumping of plastic into the lake.

The picture is gloomy in nature nursed states like Jammu & Kashmir and Uttrakhand also. Wular Lake in state of J&k has the title of one of the largest fresh water lakes in Asian Continent. Original size of lake has reduced from 217.8 sq km (2011) to 86.71 sq km in the year 2007. Once called as pride of Kashmir and rich habitat of flora and fauna is dwindling in its sheen and has been reduced to swamp; thanks to indiscriminate encroachments, massive plantation of trees and extension of agriculture fields.

Nanital Lake is one of chief tourist attraction in state of Uttrakhand. The lake is naturally formed in the shape of bean. The lake water quality has deteriorated due to domestic sewage, surface runoff from nearby hills, deforestation, and natural activities. Water samples collected in studies showed presence of Potassium, Lead, copper etc.

So the fact remains clear that almost all water bodies are meted out humiliating treatment at the hands of human beings. We are destroying the very sources which feed us. The day is not far when there will be no drinking water available for human consumption even though 97% of earth is comprised of water.

We should all pledge to do something now or it will be too late.