No Froth without Toxicity

No Froth without Toxicity
Image courtesy Deccan Herald

Image courtesy Deccan Herald

The Issue:
Varthur Lake is toxic.  The froth is an indicator of that. Let no one tell you the froth is due to the extraordinary use of the overly clean residents around here using frothy detergents.  The verdict comes from IISC no less. Worse, it is contaminating the ground water around the area and if you depend on tankers for your water, you are quite likely getting your share of the toxins along with it.  It is appalling and unacceptable that when life around this visually beautiful lake is so badly affected and there is no action by the government to address this effectively, decisively and immediately.

Why the sudden publicity:

Yes, the lake has been toxic for a while but two reasons explain the popularity with media. (1)The froth was so bad this year that it eventually got to the people. (2)A Whitefield Rising team that  has systematically collected all the necessary data in partnership with KK School (Varthur) , IISC and Upalokayukta Justice Adi was able to articulate the issue clearly and effectively for media that has done a good job of bringing attention to the issue. NDTV, CNN/IBN. The News Minute and even Huffington Post carried the cause beautifully. Our WR member Elan even made it online with Rajdeep Sardesai on this issue. Meanwhile,  BDA who owns this lake has been unresponsive.  Just over 2 years ago, the same lake was in the news for the drowning deaths of 2 BBMP workers. Watch the video where the unfortunate victims are submerged in the foam during the Ganesha visarjan.

Read some details from media here:

Now Read about a fantastic verdict by the National Green Tribunal that is a boost in the arm for us as well.

What Next

  • In short, the Lake has to “stop” receiving effluents and the existing lake bed will need to be dredged and rejuvenated. This can be done in many ways but none without the genuine intent and support of the government. The solution will also not happen overnight. This is a distance marathon and we will stay the course.
  • We are pending two key milestones
    • The Center (Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar has asked for a report on the issue).
    • Justice Adi has assembled a meeting of all the stakeholders on May 22 including Whitefield Rising, Government agencies involved.

How can you help

As you can see, only the crying baby gets the milk.  Here are many ways you can help

  • You are deeply interested in this cause and want to join the team and work on solving it.
  • You can be present at the Lake on short notice to take pictures or observe changes or just be present as a show of strength
  • You can be present in meetings in the city such as at Vidhan Soudha and provide strength at the meetings with the officials.
  • You have expertise in this area or want to send us information that we should be aware of – eg how another such lake was treated or new technologies

For any or all the above and more, write to Remember we are all volunteers, ordinary citizens with lives to run. Any help you provide is appreciated by all.

Thank you

PS: This is the only official update from WR on the Lake.

2 thoughts on “No Froth without Toxicity”

  1. Dr Ananth S Kodavasal says:

    Excessive and persistent foaming in Varthur lake I believe is due to a combination of circumstances attributable to chemical, physical, meteorological factors and poor governance leading to encroachments on the course of the water body and unplanned urbanisation. Let me list them :

    1. CHEMICAL : Use of detergents is on the rise and everybody knows this to be a fact. But the fact of the matter is the same detergents were used in earlier months as well and there was no foaming in the lake. Detergents in water when agitated will cause foaming. The synergistic effect of the other factors listed below may have led to this frothing episode.

    2. PHYSICAL : Unchecked encroachments on either side of the water course has led to constricting the flow path of water, resulting in higher flow velocities causing more turbulence ( agitation)

    3. METEOROLOGICAL : The foaming episode manifested itself in its worst form after some excessive rain. Due to urbanisation of Bangalore and exponential increase in paved areas in the city, the quantum of storm water runoff has also increased in direct proportion compounding the issue, causing excessive inflow of water into Varthur, leading to more turbulence.

    One might therefore conclude that a combination of the above circumstances acting synergistically led to the unsightly frothing episode.

    Dr. Ananth s Kodavasal

  2. Suni says:

    Better late than never! We should do whatever possible to save such a gifted natural water body from the greed of man. Will wait for your next call to meet.