Bellandur lake bed catches fire for the second time in a month.
Bangalore’s largest lake bed was on fire twice this month. The area has been prone to burning since 2015, when the increase in froth caught. Since then instances of burning have decreased as the lake water kept on adulterating, until again in March 2021, when the dried lake bed made fuming headlines.
The fire incident of March 23 lasted for hours as Lake Marshals fell short of fire extinguishers. As Marshal Suresh mentions, “The fire couldn’t be extinguished on 23rd, we brought water tanks the next day to put out the fire’’.
Around 22 Marshals have been deployed in the area since 2018 to prevent instances of illegal garbage burning and dumping, but due to lack of resources they are unable to prevent and contain when fire breaks.These marshals have sent a letter to the BBMP, requesting for fire equipment for over a year now.
According to the marshals, dry leaves in the lake bed caught fire when a man left a burning cigarette bud on it.
The BBMP Lakes official, Mohan Krishna said, “Army men are provided with fire extinguishers to tackle little fires, and in case the fire spreads, they are asked to call the fire brigade.”
The lake bed is susceptible to fires especially in summers because dry leaves increase chances of fire spreading and the fire rage continues for hours due to delay in bringing in water tanks to service the 912 acres of the area around the lake.
The dry leaves burn along with the chemical and hazardous solid waste settled eight feet deep in the lake bed, releasing poisonous gases, according to the NGT report.
Dr Nidhi Paliwal, a resident of Bellandur mentioned the problems as, “throat irritations, difficulty in breathing and other respiratory issues.”
Environmentalists suggest that there needs to be a check on people entering the zone and proper availability of fire extinguishers so small fire incidents that may lead to bigger ones causing thick smog can be prevented.
The smog clouds above Bellandur and delay in fire treatment is becoming a matter of concern for the residents as the city will experience a dry summer for three more months.