Miles to go in lake conservation

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Published on October 19, 2021 by

CCTV cameras don’t help in solving the core challenges of lake conservation

Bengaluru: Following the National Green Tribunal’s intervention in 2018, the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) installed CCTV cameras around Bellandur and Varathur lakes. These lakes were in the news for spewing toxic foam and catching fire. BBMP has deployed marshals to monitor the CCTV control rooms and patrol the lakes.

Captain Sadasivam, who is the Officer-in-charge of Bellandur Lake, said since the installation of CCTV cameras and LED lights they can monitor the whole lake during the night. “If we find any illegal activities taking place, we go and take action immediately.”

This strict patrolling and monitoring has a result. Locals say they don’t see anyone dumping garbage around the lakes nowadays. “I haven’t seen anyone dumping waste in the lake at least in the past seven-eight months. CCTV cameras and the presence of BBMP security guards do make a difference” – Sharan a local shopkeeper near Varthur Lake, attests.

Yet, experts say that CCTV cameras, on their own, don’t solve the problem. Environmentalist, A N Yellappa Reddy says “There is nearly 100-year-old legacy of dumping sewage, garbage and encroachments. The industrial waste is also let into the lakes. India still doesn’t have proper laws put in place to prevent this. Until and unless you address the core issues, any peripheral issues won’t solve the problem”.

But these security systems and strict patrolling are still to be put in place for other lakes. And despite these actions, fire broke out in Bellandur Lake on March this year.

According to Theertha Ravindran, the lake manager of Jakkur Lake, who works with Jalaposhan trust – a Citizen Participation programme that works to nurture Jakkur Lake, when it comes to conservation, it is important to make these lakes “a place where biodiversity can exist again.”

Installing CCTV cameras is the first step in the right direction. But as environmentalists say, there are many other core issues that need to be addressed before we can breathe back life into Bengaluru’s lakes.

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