mid-day editorial: Don't let our water bodies drown in apathy

Nov 29, 2017, 06:09 IST | mid-day correspondent

Lokhandwala lake and its birds and fish are drowning in a deadly combination of plastic and public apathy. A report in this paper highlighted how the four-acre water body is threatened by plastic litter being dumped there

Lokhandwala lake and its birds and fish are drowning in a deadly combination of plastic and public apathy. A report in this paper highlighted how the four-acre water body is threatened by plastic litter being dumped there.

A warning board that was installed by the BMC, appealing to citizens to not dump plastic into the lake has disappeared, allegedly stolen. This is not the only water body under siege - recently, this paper had also reported on how Versova beach is once again choking with garbage after clean-up volunteers were violently attacked. Civic authorities should immediately deploy security at Lokhandwala lake to avoid a similar scenario. The lake also needs urgent intervention; the pollutants will already have affected the flora and fauna at the water body, but perhaps the damage is still reversible.

First, install enough dustbins in the vicinity. The temptation to throw a wrapper or plastic bottle into the lake will be minimised if there is a dustbin nearby. It's important to give citizens a sense that they have a stake in the surroundings, that the lake is theirs to protect too. That said, appealing to people's good sense does not work all the time. It is only when fines are imposed that results are seen. One cannot fathom why anyone would steal the warning boards, but the authorities must put up more of them advocating that the lake be kept clean. Posting guards and CCTV cameras to haul up and fine culprits is the last measure.

Great will is required to turn around this lake and other water bodies in the city, like the Banganga water tank, which is littered with rubbish. How many times will the BMC clean lakes, and how much vigil is expected from activists? Let us tackle the problem at source and try to stop people from polluting in the first place.

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