Bengaluru: City of Dying Lakes and Rivers

Bangalore is a divine place to live with beautiful water bodies and hills surrounding it. It falls under the heart of the Mysore plateau which is a huge reason behind the pleasant weather of the city. Despite no major rivers flowing through the city, Bangalore has a handful number of freshwater lakes- Hebbal lake, Ulsoor lake and Sankey Tank are some of the largest lakes. The rivers of Bangalore include Vrishabhavathi river, Then Pennai river and Arkavathi river. These are a few minor rivers of Bangalore city which are a huge part of contribution in the water supply of the residents of the city. With growing population and migration in the city, the growth of infrastructures and industries have increased which resulted in consumption of more water. Bangalore has gone from being ‘The City of Lakes to being the city of concrete’ which has resulted in massive disappearance of water. This rapid urbanisation of the city over the years have caused drying taps and falling of underground water levels and froth-filled rivers and lakes. According to sources this downfall started since the 1990s when the city marked itself as the IT-hub of the country with an attraction of top IT firms including Microsoft, Dell, Intel, IBM, and Google. This has increased the scope of jobs for sure but has resulted in sucking of ground water and polluted water bodies. 

According to recent updates a lot of residential areas are still dependent on water tankers filling up their water tanks to survive a normal livelihood. There are a lot of local families who have dug out unauthorised private wells to survive their daily needs such as cooking, bathing, laundry, and other household needs. The water supply in those residential areas generally come from the Cauvery River that is around 100kms away from the city and delivers water every 2-3 days a week because of which residents pay a huge amount of water bill to the municipality.

An inscription on the 7th century Nandi in Bangalore mentions Vrishabhavathi as the source of a river. The river with a huge mythological reference is now the victim of the city’s sewage. The river’s banks are fully urbanised and industrialised, and such has caused the demise of the living river with heavy flow of froth and toxicity. The same goes with the Arkavathi river which later joins the Cauvery river. The polluted water of Vrishabhavathi has entered the Byramangala tank which helps in irrigation of vegetables, orchards, and crops like ragi, paddies and sugarcane. Such heavy water pollution has resulted in difficulties in farming, irrigation, and cultivation of crops. This supply of polluted water instead of freshwater has become a curve in the farmers’ lives. 

Over the years, we humans have become nothing but a curse for nature despite its faithfulness towards us. But with later circumstances with the pandemic which has been a quite a traumatic episode in the humans’ lives, has indeed been a boon to nature and its existence. With the outbreak of Coronavirus, the world has shut themselves inside their houses. Schools, offices remained closed, people migrating back to their native homes, and the world economy falling has been traumatising enough for the human species but has helped the nature get free from human torture and come back to life. With humans not being able to go out and pollute the earth, earth has started to heal itself slowly but effectively indeed. River Vrishabhavathi which was dying out of choking on froth and trash, has been looking cleaner than it has looked in decades. According to several news reports, the water body’s colour has changed from black to its original colour in 3 weeks after the lockdown was imposed. The pebbles are clearly visible in the river bed. Lake activists have also stated that the 90% of the froth on the river has disappeared after the lockdown has been imposed.  Nature has unsurprisingly proved that we humans are the main caused behind its demise.

Yes indeed, there has been a huge increase in the death-rate of humans due to covid-19 all over the world, but the lockdown has been a blessing towards nature and its beings. With a straight 3 months lockdown and no human interference the nature has healed itself in several ways. Activists have revealed that there has been a huge change in the climate as there has been a drop in air and noise pollution. Researchers who study Earth’s movement have reported that there has been a drop in the seismic noise i.e. the hum of vibrations in the planet’s crust and this could be the result of transport networks and other human activities being shut down. They said that this could allow detectors to spot smaller earthquakes and boost efforts to monitor volcanic activity and other seismic events.

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