The lockdown may end up helping Bengaluru rediscover its lost river, Vrishabhavathi. The sooty, stinking water body that is born somewhere in the heart of Bengaluru and flows out of the city has not only turned light green but has also seen a sharp drop in frothing.
“Since the lockdown, there is 90% reduction in the formation of froth along the river. The water is almost clear,” said TV Surabhi, a lake activist. With the soot and frothing having all but vanished, stretches of Vrishabhavathi that appear next to Mysuru Road near Kengeri are so clear that pebbles on the river bed are visible to the plain eye.
With its basin area spread over 383 sq km, the river cuts through 96 BBMP wards, 16 assembly and five parliamentary constituencies. It merges into Arkavathi river, a tributary of the Cauvery, in Kanakapura taluk, before which it is impounded at Byramangala. Silk farmers living near the reservoir said water quality has improved a lot over the past few weeks.
Nataraj P, 52, a farmer living near the reservoir, said the water was crystal clear on Sunday. “Earlier, it used to be black and stink for miles. But now, everything seems to be fresh. I had last seen such clean water as a child. I hope I will be able to swim in it soon,” Nataraj said.
A senior BBMP official said this clearly shows industrial effluents were the sole cause of the river turning toxic and sooty. “We have written to KSPCB and BWSSB numerous times requesting them to close down various industries surrounding the river. They agree and even issue orders but nothing changes on the ground,” he said.
Niveditha Sunkand, an eco-warrior and lake activist, said no one should be waiting for a lockdown to usher in environmental changes. “The government should take action immediately. The reality that Vrishabhavathi river can be reclaimed is out now,” she added.
Reference: The Times of India