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Holy mess.

In photos: What Bengaluru’s water bodies go through when they’re not frothing or catching fire

Itika Sharma Punit
By Itika Sharma Punit

Co-editor, Quartz India

The sorry state of Bengaluru’s water bodies makes headlines every few months, usually when the chemical froth from one of its many polluted lakes spills on to the roads, inconveniencing office-goers, or when the effluents burst into flames.

On Feb. 17, this routine got repeated after a massive fire broke out in the middle of Bellandur Lake in south-east Bengaluru.

Firemen struggled for hours to tackle the blaze, The Hindu newspaper said, reporting that the fire originated in the thick layer of hyacinth on the lake’s surface and is likely to have been fuelled by the chemical waste deposits.

“Waste has been dumped in the lake deliberately. Either someone has set it on fire, or the chemicals inside the lake got ignited,” a fire department official reportedly said.

Incidents such as these are now common as the city’s water bodies receive more and more chemical wastes and garbage in. In 2015, the same lake caught fire twice in three days.

Yet, little has been done to solve the problem. Here are some images of Bengaluru’s polluted water bodies:

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Dead fish in the Ulsoor lake, one of Bengaluru’s largest water bodies, in the heart of the city.
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Fishermen in the polluted Ulsoor lake.
The toxic Bellandur lake, not far from the offices of tech majors like Intel and Accenture.
EPA/Jagadeesh NV
Ulsoor lake, a day after Ganesh Chaturthi. Hundreds of lord Ganesha idols are immersed here as part of the festival.
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Goddess Durga’s idol being immersed in a city lake.
AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi
Motorists crossing the Bellandur lake filled with frothing industrial effluents.
EPA/Jagadeesh NV
Labourers cleaning a lake after the Durga Puja immersions.
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