Algae chokes Hyderabad’s Hussain Sagar

A comprehensive action plan is needed to clear thick layers of pollutants

Published Date – 28 May 2024, 11:42 PM

Hyderabad: What was once a major source of drinking water to the twin cities, now grapples with layers of pollutants visible to the naked eye. City’s noted tourist and recreational destination, Hussain Sagar craves attention and a comprehensive action plan.

While the water body’s health has always been a topic of concern, recent images and clips of thick layers of algae and plastic floating over the lake have raised significant questions among the common public and activists. Showing substandard water body health are plastic bottles, covers, wrappers, and all kinds of garbage carelessly dumped in and on the shores of the lake. Both pedestrians and motorists who pass by often cannot escape its foul stench.

Speaking about the layer of algae, senior social scientist WG Prasanna Kumar of the Telangana State Pollution Control Board (TGPCB) explains that this happens almost every year during intense heat conditions. “With the inflows being lower in summer, the concentration of phosphates and nitrates is higher and the water is likely to respond to sunlight, forming layers of algae,” he says. When asked about the quality of water, he maintains that Dissolved oxygen (DO) levels are low.

The lake’s water is contaminated with the TGPCB’s recent data indicating steady degradation in vital parameters. The levels of biological oxygen demand (BOD), chemical oxygen demand (COD), total suspended solids (TSS), and total coliform bacteria (TCB) all exceeded permissible limits, back in February.

Moreover, water conservation experts have time and again raised concerns over the effluents being leaked into the Tank Bund from the Banjara Nala, among other such inlets from the surrounding industries and residential complexes. In addition to having a comprehensive plan to mitigate such pollution, inflows in the monsoon season will help the water body’s health.

Meanwhile, the HMDA has begun removing pollutants with the help of their machinery and contract workers. One worker who claims to have been working on such projects for a long time comments, “I have been coming here and picking up the trash removed from the lake for years now. Still, somehow there is so much trash in this lake that I think it will never be fully cleaned.”

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