Yesterday on my walk to the Powai Lake promenade, I saw the lake at its worst, the water had receded and the area around the lake was covered with plastic, debris and it looked like the water hyacinth’s were covering half of the lake. The lake is un-policed and people treat it like a picnic spot and urinate, defecate without any fear. Here is a picture I took (below) and today’s article in Mumbai Mirror explains it all. This is in-spite of the valiant efforts of some environmentalist trying to do their best to save the lake, it is indeed a dead zone. Would it be a good idea to hand over the maintainence of the Lake to a private entity?
The 121-year-old Powai Lake is drying up at an “alarming level”, despite a two-year effort by the city administration to deepen it. While the BMC has initiated an inquiry, residents say the overgrowth of water hyacinth, a free-floating tropical plant, dumping of garbage and unchecked sewage outlets are causing the lake’s slow death.
They also believe that excessive water is being drawn out from artificial lake and supplied to tabelas in Aarey Milk Colony. Worried, they have decided to make representations before civic chief Sitaram Kunte.
“The lake is choc-a-block with the plants, but the civic authority is not clearing them,” said Dr Pramod Salaskar, an academician who did a doctorate on biodiversity and water quality of the lake in 1998. In 2010, the BMC began a Rs 22-crore project to deepen the water body and remove silt from its bed. The work is expected to be over in August this year.
“The BMC claims the work is on track, but we have not seen any improvement. At many spots on the edge of the lake, one can find heaps of garbage. Sewage from outside is also seeping in,” said Powai resident Elsie Gabriel.
She, along with residents V Appukuttan and Sudhir Shetty, have been fighting for a cleaner lake for the past several years.
Manohar S Pawar, BMC’s executive engineer for civil maintenance of water works, said that weeds were being regularly removed from the lake.
“We have also reduced the water supply to tabelas in Aarey Milk Colony,” he said. Pawar, however, admitted that the lake had depleted by about three feet. “We are worried about this and trying to figure out ways to prevent further depletion,” he said.