By Usha Rajagopalan
Till Bellandur and Varthur lakes hit the headlines with foam and fire, no one asked us how we maintain Puttenahalli Lake. Now they do. For one, we protect our lake. Those two are much neglected and misused. We are hawkeyed and do not let anyone fling trash into the water. Not when we are around. Night time is another story when our lake is at the mercy of vandals and miscreants. Fortunately, Yellappa who has the fishing rights has his men patrolling for potential night raiders of his fish. We therefore breathe easy and stick to our day time routine which consists of water and land related chores. Some of these are:
- Check inlet pipes for sewage. Any inflow puts us on high alert. We immediately inform our contact in BWSSB, J.E Mr. Nagaraj who invariably attends to the problem at once. More than the top brass, it is good to have a rapport with the ground staff.
- Get our lake cleaner to remove any random plastic or bottle that the wily manage to fling into the water evading the watchful eyes of the two home guards, our three gardeners, sweeper and Manager. Anyone caught polluting is reprimanded severely and even fined.
- We have planted stakes about six feet into the water from the edge. Vegetation which grows outside this buffer strip is removed. As also new shoots in the water and the Salvinia molesta sticking to the edges of other plants or floating in stray bits.
- Get the gardeners to tend to the plants growing in our floating wetlands. Remove any leaf litter or detritus from the water.
- Send water samples for testing once a month.
- During monsoon, clean the grills we’ve fitted in the silt traps, mouths of inlets and run off points in the walking track.
On land it is largely tending to the plants, pruning, mulching, and inspecting the compost windrows and bins. People management is a lot trickier since we have to dissuade those who come with puja material for immersion and stop people from littering or flinging things into the water. If they can do these with a lake as well maintained as ours then is the pitiable condition of Bellandur and Varthur lakes surprising? Their revival may be the task of the government but the future of these two and indeed, all lakes, rest with us, the people.