This article by Sucheta Ramprakash describes the gradual deterioration of the Sarakki lake in Bangalore, which has now become a reservoir for untreated sewage
Sarakki Lake, also known as Jagaranahalli Lake located in South Bangalore is one of the oldest lakes in Bangalore, and once upon a time one of the most glorious. It has now become a reservoir for untreated sewage and a dumping yard for the surrounding neighbourhoods. This lake was a source of water for four villages up until just a few years ago. Now, due to the urbanisation in and around the lake, approximately ten lakh litres of sewage enters Sarakki Lake every single day, resulting in a foul odour.
The lake is completely covered in weeds which are destroying the flora and fauna. The groundwater of the surrounding area is highly contaminated and has become unpotable. Even the construction debris has been dumped in tons every day. The lake is also being encroached upon to pave unplanned roads. Many tents and huts have recently come up on the embankment surrounding the lake. Because of encroachments, the the lake's total area has reduced from 86 acres to less than 60 acres, according to a recent survey.
Five years ago, the State Government spent a few crores to erect a fence around the lake. Now this fence is almost non existent and the lake has become a big dumping yard for sewage and garbage. residents can only breathe the polluted air.
By looking at the present situation of this lake, it is very difficult to believe that it is a water body, or even that it once was. But the truth is that Sarakki lake may be dying, but it isn't dead yet. It needs quick action to be restored and rejuvenated.
The importance of lakes
Lakes are widely recognised and respected for their historical and traditional significance. Lakes provide prime opportunities for recreation, tourism and residential spaces, offering the beauty of nature and the flourishing ecosystem they automatically create.
Proper lake ecosystems can ease the impact of floods and droughts by storing large amounts of water and releasing it during shortages. Lakes also work to replenish groundwater, positively influence water quality of downstream water courses, and preserve the biodiversity and habitat of the area.
Healthy lakes and their shores not only provide us with a number of environmental benefits but they influence our quality of life and they strengthen our economy.
Sarakki Lake Area Improvement Trust
The Sarakki Lake Area Improvement Trust (SLAIT) is a newly formed non profit charitable trust which comprises of ten socially conscious and experienced professionals from diverse fields. It will act as a 'neighbourhood watch dog' and will take effective measures to restore Sarakki Lake.
An active member of SLAIT, Professor K.S. Bhat sadly expresses that Sarakki Lake has been encroached upon indiscriminately by big builders and others in the recent past. They are letting sewage directly into the lake, dumping construction debris and garbage which is creating a nuisance by polluting the area. One can just imagine enjoying the breeze, flora, fauna and clean water in the lake.
What needs to be done?
•Stop inflow of untreated sewage from the surrounding buildings.
•Stop dumping garbage and debris.
•Stop encroachments by roads and other sheds and secure the lake with proper fencing.
Now, it is everyone’s responsibility to voice their views and come forward to support Sarakki Lake Area Improvement Trust, which is has already sent memorandum to the concerned Government officials to take action on restoring the Sarakki Lake by utilizing the budget provisions for lakes rejuvenation. Let's join hands and help to save Bangalore's lakes one at a time.