Thursday, May 17, 2018

Great news from our volunteer teacher

You may recall that even though our Classes at the Lake programme has ceased, a few of our volunteer teachers continue to help underprivileged children. One of them is Mr. C.S. N. Iyer (read about him here). Two of his earliest students were siblings Pooja and Praveen. Praveen who didn't know a word in English when he began his classes under Mr. Iyer five years ago has scored 91% in the SSLC exam. He has a B in only one subject. Pooja has secured 75% in PUC. Both of them want to study Computer Science. 

Mr. Iyer is trying the children with their college admission and  needs to raise Rs. One lakh twenty thousand (Rs. 1,20,000). It will be great if you can help him and the children. Mr. Iyer's email id is: csniyer77@aol.com.

Regards
Usha 



Sunday, April 22, 2018

Earth Day greetings!

Today, 22nd April, is Earth Day. Google has brought out a beautiful doodle featuring Dr. Jane Goodman that is full of hope and promise. She says, "Each one of us matters, has a role to play, and makes a difference." (to earth, to life). 

This is our wish for the day - that each of us may realise that we matter and have a role to play to make ours a better world. 

Earth Day greetings to you and your family. 

PNLIT Team

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We are happy to have received this throwback picture from Sanjay M, one of PNLIT's early volunteers. "Feeling nostalgic about a pic I came across today, of a pic I took at Puttenahalli Lake in March 2015. Cheers to a greener, purer and brighter future." he said 


Thursday, April 5, 2018

The fish kill in March 2018 and after

We used to welcome the rain but now we dread the dark clouds. The sewerage system outside the lake is a combined one and even a drizzle can cause rain water to mix with the sewage, overflow from the manhole and enter the lake. It did on 15th March and triggered the fish kill in our lake. 

Sewage entered the lake from three places in March - Nataraja Layout; 1st Cross, Aradhana Layout and from the chamber beside the wall of MLR Convention Centre. In the name of beautifying their entrance, the newly constructed Samskruthi Brindavana laid a garden and buried the manhole cover. 

Another reason for the fish to die was because the fisherman released more fingerlings into the lake on 9th Feb. even though the water level was falling fast due to evaporation. He ended up losing all of them (see pic). He does nothing to help us maintain the lake but was quick to blame us for his fish dying due to the sewage. We have updated the Fisheries Dept. and sought to know what measures they take to ensure the quality of the water in the lake to which they have given the fishing rights to a contractor.  

The rain in the evening of 2nd April once again brought sewage into lake. Yet again, we called the local office of BWSSB and early on 3rd morning, they cleared the block in the drain at Nataraja Layout with a jetting machine. However, the drain in 1st Cross, Aradhana Layout dead ends into the chamber. It does not need the rain to overflow. Hence, even after 15th March, sewage from this point has been steadily flowing into the lake. In a matter of days, it has completely undone our work of several years. 

Coracles filled with dead fish

The photo on 1st March below, shows the pristine wetland, the aquatic bio-filter zone, pinnacle of our endeavour. By 24th March, the water was dotted with dead fish and the grill packed with trash. Sewage from Aradhana Layout continues to flow and made the wetland a cesspool by 3rd April. 

Wetland, 1st March 2018

Wetland 24th March 2018

Sewage inflow from Aradhana Layout, 26th March 2018

Cesspool wetland, 3rd April 2018

There are no more fishes to die in our lake.  If sewage continues to flow in, the lake will die too. We have written to BWSSB. We'll update you on the actions they take to protect the lake, to ensure that sewage never again enters the lake. Sewage is not slow poison but a swift decimation not just of the fish but of the lake itself. 

Yet, in hope, 
Usha


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

When fish die

The fish in our lake do not belong to us. They are Yellappa's, the fisherman who has got the fishing contract from the Fisheries Dept. Nevertheless, we began to worry about the fish as soon as summer started. The water level was dropping alarmingly. We worried that the evaporation would deplete dissolved oxygen in the water. How then will the fish survive? Another new concern was the sudden rain. You might well ask why the concern when it will bring up the water level? True and it did but the sudden inflow also affected the temperature of the water. Even subtle changes would have a huge impact on the fish. This is why they need to be introduced very gradually into an aquarium. To add to our worry, a sewage chamber collapsed on Sat. 17 March. As soon as we got to know this, we contacted BWSSB. Within a couple of hours, they repaired the chamber. But how much sewage had entered the lake by then and how much damage had been done to the water?

Sewage chamber overflowing, 17th March 2018

Yesterday morning we saw several dead fish in the water. Today their number is more. Yellappa says he lost about 1000 kgs of fish. Since each one is big and heavy, the number may not seem high but the death of even a fingerling hurts us. 

Dead fish, 19th March 2018

According to the Fisheries dept, the only preventive measure is to install an aerator and increase the DO. We shall do that as well and hope that we never see a dead fish in the lake ever again! It traumatises us no end!
Best
Usha


Thursday, March 8, 2018

Lakes out of bounds for people! Crippling amendments to Tank Development Act

On 23rd February, the state government passed amendments to the Tank Development Act transferring all lakes to the Minor Irrigation Department (MID). It repeals the Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Act which had provided for active community participation. 

To add insult to injury, the amendments were adopted with sparse attendance in the Legislative Assembly on Thursday 22nd Feb. 2018 and passed the next day, on 23rd Feb., in the Legislative Council in haste, without any discussion or debate.

We are various citizen groups across Bengaluru who for the past several years have been deeply involved in the restoration, protection and preservation of the water bodies in our respective localities. We know  from experience that public participation is vital to the nurturing water bodies. 

Mismanagement by the authorities over the years caused the extinction of hundreds of lakes in the city. We cannot allow them to finish off the few surviving ones. We have formally appealed to the Hon'ble Governor to return the amendments bill. Please join us by signing this online petition

Thank you, 
PNLIT 


Friday, February 23, 2018

What's in a name? Plenty unfortunately!

The Bard made Juliet ask Romeo, 
"What's in a name?" She went on to answer herself "That which we call a rose/By any other name would smell as sweet ..."

Little did Shakespeare know what problems a name can cause! Our little 13 acre lake is called Puttenahalli. So is the 31 acre one in Yelahanka! To compound matters, the one in Sarakki is also occasionally and mistakenly called Puttenahalli. Three lakes with the same name is two more than necessary. Truly confusion worse confounded. 

As if our struggle to nurture our little "Puttenahalli Puttakere" as it was earlier called, is not enough, we are constantly explaining this name jumble to people. We can do this with individuals but how do we address this issue when the mistake occurs in the newspaper? Those few reporters who are aware of this, are careful in specifying which one by writing "Puttenahalli Yelahanka" or "Puttenahalli, J.P. Nagar" (which will still clash with the Sarakki lake but this cannot be helped). If, however, they do not give precise direction to the photographer, then it is very likely that a photograph of our lake will accompany the report on Sarakki or Puttenahalli Yelahanka lakes! This is perhaps what happened in the report which has appeared in The Times of India today. 

Do we change the name of our lake? Will it help at all since it appears that our lake is so "well known" that any mention of Puttenahalli, it is ours that rises to the mind? Please give your suggestions on how to resolve this name muddle once and for all. We are fed up of explaining which lake is being referred to orally or in print. 

Since the report in today's newspaper is based on KSPCB data, we would like to add that we continue to feed our lake with the surplus treated water from the STP of an apartment complex. This was a pilot project approved by KSPCB in May 2015 which has led to our Puttenahalli thriving and teeming with fish. It doesn't stink either. These are enough indicators to reassure us that our lake is in good health. If you will believe only what you see, then please visit our lake - Puttenahalli, J.P. Nagar 7th Phase next to Samskruthi Brindavana and MLR Convention Hall. 

Usha

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Will Bangalore run out of water?

A recent article on the BBC website listed 11 cities worldwide, most likely to run out of drinking water, like what has already happened at Cape Town (South Africa). The article can be read here. Sao Paulo (Brazil) is at No. 1, and Bangalore is at number 2. 

Mr Vishwanath, one of Bangalore's water experts has written a rejoinder article that can be read here, explaining why Bangalore is unlikely to go dry as predicted. While it is comforting to read, we cannot afford to be complacent or indifferent. Water scarcity is real, frightening and imminent if we do not act, not just in Bangalore, but wherever we live.  

Harvest rainfall. Save water. Save lakes!



Friday, February 9, 2018

Science Carnival @ Puttenahalli Lake this Sunday


                                     


Merry Go Learn, JP Nagar is back at our lake with a bang!! 

This time they are planning a Science Carnival where kids can have hands on experience on various experiments. 

Come and see the magic of science at the stalls managed by the students of Merry Go Learn.


Venue: Puttenahalli Lake
Date: Sunday, 11th Feb 2018
Time : 3 P.M. onwards
                                     
ALL ARE WELCOME! ENTRY FREE!

Friday, February 2, 2018

World Wetlands Day


World Wetlands Day  is celebrated on 2nd February each year in order to raise public attention on the vital role wetlands play in reducing flooding, absorbing excess water, supporting life organisms, improving the water quality, etc. 

Unaware and indifferent to this, wetlands especially in urban areas are considered as waste land that can be built upon. The theme for this year is 'Wetlands for a sustainable urban future."

We look back at the wetland in our lake. Given that the water area is only 10 acres, the wetland is less than an acre. It is separated from the main body with a line of boulders about 7 ft high. Four rainwater  inlets and an STP line are located in the wetland. 

For several years we tried to avoid looking at the wetland simply because we didn't know how to maintain it. It was overgrown, littered with all sorts of stuff, some of which entered with rain water and the rest thrown in by an indifferent public. But closing one's eyes or ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away, does it? Towards the end of 2016, we decided to revamp the wetland. You can read about our project here.

The photographs show the evolution of the wetland in our Puttenahalli Lake from 2010. 

Creating the wetland, June 2010

The wetland in August 2015

The wetland in May 2016

The wetland in Jan 2018

No marks for guessing which is now our favourite spot at the lake!
Spare a thought to water, to wetlands!

Best

Usha