Massive fire in Bengaluru lake

Sat 18 Feb 2017

Polluting water:Residents claim the lake bed has been a dumping site for waste for years now.V. Sreenivasa Murthy  

On Thursday night, Bengaluru residents watched in horror as a massive fire broke out and smoke billowed from the Bellandur Lake.

The cause for the fire, one of the worst in recent months, remains a mystery. While residents blame reckless garbage burning, officials believe it was sparked by “chemically active sludge.” But they are yet to conduct tests to verify the cause.

Lakshman, Chairman of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board, who visited the spot on Friday morning, said a technical team prima facie suspected that the fire was triggered due to a chemical reaction in the sludge, which might have released combustible methane gas in excess.

“The hyacinth over the sludge was dry and caught fire. The spot where the fire broke out was limited to an ‘island’ of about 200 ft. in the lake away from the bund. Its ring-like formation indicates a chemical reaction,” he said.

Residents told The Hindu that over the past few months the lake-bed was being used to burn garbage illegally. “It’s becoming a daily affair,” said Seema Sharma, a resident of Mantri Espana apartment near the lake.

Cause to be probed

The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board has formed a six-member committee, led by Chief Environmental Officer, to probe into the cause of the fire and monitor the rejuvenation of the lake.

“We have collected samples from the spot,” said Mr. Lakshman.

“The samples will be subjected to a chemical analysis to understand what triggered the fire. We will come out with the report soon,” he said. The last time, Bellandur lake caught fire was in October 2016. It raged for five days.


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