Silt from Bellandur, Varthur lakes to be tested by KSPC, IISc.

The National Green Tribunal-appointed committee, which has been monitoring the rejuvenation efforts of Varthur and Bellandur lakes, is consulting experts on the disposal of silt from Bellandur lake, where traces of heavy metals, such as cadmium, were found.

On Saturday, the committee visited the lakes and storm-water drains around the catchment area along with officials from several agencies, including the Urban Development Department, Bangalore Development Authority, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), and Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board .

Soil samples were collected at multiple points. These, according to a member of the committee, would be analysed by both KSPCB and Indian Institute of Science independently. “Earlier too, soil samples were collected. While there seems to be no issue in Varthur lake, heavy metals were found in Bellandur lake. The samples will be tested to check if the soil can be used for agriculture, gardening, or if it should be dumped and how urgently it should be disposed of,” a committee member told The Hindu.

Desilting is likely to begin by January. “The soil is not very dry yet and more water needs to be drained. That apart, the water table level is also very high,” the committee member said.

The committee is also monitoring the progress of culverts near Varthur Kodi and a private hospital in the area, and directed the BBMP to survey and notify the raja kaluves (big storm-water drains connecting the lakes) for purposes of buffer zones. “We were not satisfied with the earlier records. The BBMP’s Storm Water Drains Department is now looking into revenue records, village maps, satellite images, and Google images for the survey,” the member said and added that encroachments had already been identified and cleared.

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