Avalahalli Lake is plagued by filth.

40 bird species misssing from Avalahalli Lake

By Taru Jain

Bangalore, Sep 14, 2017: Forty species of birds are said to have gone missing from the Avalahalli Lake after filth accumulated in the lake.

Spot-billed Pelican, Purple Heron, Pale-billed Flowerpecker and Shikra among many others have either stopped visiting or don’t stay for very long, says Mallika Rajasekaran, a bird-watcher based in Bangalore.

Anand Yadawad, managing trustee of the Avalahalli Lake Neighborhood Development said that they had conducted a census of the birds in May this year and discovered that nearly 40 species were missing.

He said that the disposal of sewage in the lake has affected the migration of birds.

Anand said the trust body, which was formed by locals, had cleaned 5000 tons of weeds in June this year. He said, “We saw more birds after cleaning. But the sewage which gets dumped from nearby residential areas is still a problem which requires large scale and long-term funding.”

The statistics on the Facebook page of ‘Save Alahalli Lake’ state that the Avalahalli Lake Neighborhood Development has managed to deweed about 70 per cent of the 23-acre lake so far.

He added that the area has seen a population growth of 100 per cent in the last ten years which has caused lake pollution and affected the migration of birds in Avalahalli.

Uttam, a resident near the lake, said that he noticed the number of birds visiting the lake has reduced in recent years. Rohini Girish, another resident, added that the lake stinks, too.

Ulhas Anand, bird-watcher and co-founder of Ecoedu (an initiative to raise awareness for conservation of wildlife), explained, “The dumping of sewage brings down the amount of dissolved oxygen in the lake itself which results in a lot of fish dying. Migratory birds need water which is unpolluted because they have already flown a long distance and they need to recharge their energies by feeding. But if there is no availability of fish for them, it becomes difficult for them to feed and that’s why you don’t see many migratory birds in polluted water.”

He added that Avalahalli Lake is just one of the many examples as the number of birds has come down by 99 per cent in Bangalore.

The lake is under Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) jurisdiction but it was proposed for transfer to Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) in September 2016. Netra Prakash, Assistant Engineer at the BBMP, said the proposal has not been approved yet by the government.

Anand added that groundwater in the surrounding areas has also been affected due to lake pollution. He said, “Earlier, the residents would directly consume groundwater but now they have to filter it out first.”

The lake is a popular spot for migratory birds such as Gray Wagtail, Greater Cormorant, Eurasian Coot, Greater painted-snipe and Pheasant-tailed Jacana among many others.

 

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