Varthur lake fire – flora and fauna gutted

Varthur lake fire – happening again.  This is the third time the lake is catching fire in recent years.  Lakes catching fire has become a never-ending disaster in Bengaluru in recent times. 

lake on fire

The people residing near Thubarahalli extension in Varthur noticed smoke emerging from the middle of the lake.    The lake had caught fire at 3 different spots near the Balligeri inlet.  Each fire was a few meters away from the other.

Highlights – Varthur lake fire :

  • Varthur lake caught fire at three different spots.
  • The fire destroyed nearly 20 acres of land of a small island in the lake.
  • Exact reason that led to the fire has not been ascertained.

The lake caught fire at 3 different places and the fire started spreading fast.  The thick plumes of smoke was visible from 2 km away from the lake.

History of lake :

The lake is an integral part of Bengaluru,  although unplanned urbanization and industrialization have led to the contamination of this lake. Varthur Lake, which has an area of 180.40 hectares (445.8 acres) is the second largest lake in Bengaluru city and also one of the most polluted lakes.

Its ecosystem is under continuous degradation because of sewage water from Bengaluru  entering the lake from Bellandur lake further upstream.

This is a man-made lake, built by Ganga kings over thousands of years ago for agriculture and domestic uses but now the lake is receiving 40% of the sewage water from Bengaluru.   

Varthur lake fire – NGT :

A month prior to the fire Karnataka was impose a fine of Rs.50 crore by NGT  (National Green Tribunal) for neglecting 2 lakes.  One of them being Varthur lake and the other being Bellandur lake.

fire – water-lake

Impact of fire at Varthur lake :

The fire at varthur lake destroyed almost 20 acres of land of a small island in the lake. The fire incident comes at a time when migratory birds flock to the lake. The fire reportedly destroyed many nests on the islands.  

Despite the lake being already polluted with sewage, effluents, construction and demolition waste, people continue to dump garbage and debris into it.  The fire could have been triggered by the presence of chemicals in it.

The entire day, a thick cloud of smoke choked the residents 

Reasons for fire at the lake : 

The fire could have been triggered by the presence of chemicals.  The presence of “illegal migrants” near the lake can be a reason behind the fire as they segregate whatever they see of value in the waste and dump the rest into the lake.

Previous fires :

In March 2017, the lake caught fire after some people burned garbage near the lake’s inlet.

spilling of toxic foam

In January 2018, another lake in Bengaluru–the Bellandur lake–caught fire and the operation to douse it went on for over 10 hours. The Bellandur lake caught fire 11 times in 2018 alone and once in January 2019.

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