The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Water hazard slur on Sarobar clubs

Taking a dip in Rabindra Sarobar could be injurious to health.

The Dhakuria Lakes harbour pollutants that irritate the skin, resulting in rashes and “severe eye disease”. This was revealed by tests on water collected from different parts of the Lakes by the Institute of Wetland Management and Ecological Design.

The West Bengal Pollution Control Board (PCB) submitted a report on the condition of the water to the green bench of Calcutta High Court on Monday. It annexed the institute study, which said the waters had deteriorated “crossing all acceptable physio-chemical and bacteriological parameters”.

The report said the waters are over-run with different organisms due to food being dumped by the neighbouring clubs. There are distinct “spatial variations of water quality” due to the wastes, which could be health hazards. Construction of concrete structures around the banks has caused the water oxygen level to drop sharply.

Dumping weeds along the bank has added “excessive nutrients”, while bathing and washing introduce detergents and other harmful substances to the ecosystem, the report said.

For a safer Lakes the institute has recommended six steps:

* Boards be put up to inform the public that plastic bags are banned in the area

* Adequate garbage bins be installed to prevent littering

* Alternative spots for bathing and washing be identified

* Burning of leaves and litter be banned

* Regular cleaning

* Special clean-ups after events at the Nazrul Mancha and Rabindra Sarobar stadiums.

The government, said the PCB, has formed a committee to restore and improve environmental conditions of the Lakes, which has recommended that boards be put up warning that the waters are not fit to bathe in. It is the clubs, the report stressed, that pollute the waterbody.

But the clubs deny all charges. “No garbage is thrown in the water. In fact, we clean it regularly,” said Subrata Mukherjee, member, Lake Club.

Tamal Kanti Mukherjee, Life Saving Society member, claims “all precautions” are taken to ensure the waterbody is not polluted”. It is slum-dwellers who do the damage, he alleged.

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