The National Green Tribunal on Wednesday ordered the Karnataka government to shut down all industrial units near the highly polluted Bellandur Lake and announced a fine of Rs 5 lakh to be imposed on anyone dumping waste in and around the water body. It asked the state government to clean the lake within a month, ANI reported. The tribunal also rapped the government for not having taken any steps to prevent the entry of sewage into the lake.
The instructions were issued by a bench headed by the National Green Tribunal Chairperson, Justice Swatanter Kumar. “All the industries located in the vicinity of Bellandur Lake and discharging effluent are hereby directed to be closed,” he said, according to The Times of India. “No industry is permitted to operate unless an inspection by a joint team is conducted and analysis of effluent is found to be within the permissible limits,” the bench, which also comprised Justice RS Rathore, said, the English daily reported.
In February this year, residents around the lake, which is Bengaluru’s largest, had noticed that it had started frothing and that its surface had caught fire. The toxic froth – produced by untreated sewage water flowing into the lakes – had spilled over onto the roads and into drains around the lake, posing a huge health and environment hazard. Residents in neighbouring areas, who had long been complaining about the odious stench from the lake, raised health concerns about the fire that may have been sparked by chemicals in the water.