Green warriors of Tambaram have planted saplings near Agaramthen lake in order to bring it back to its pristine glory. They complain that the residents are dumping garbage into the lake even after much awareness drive. Even the officials are not taking any action to clean the lake, they rue.
“Earlier, there were only Prosopis juliflora trees (Karuvelam tree) near the lake for almost 2.5 km. Following frequent complaints, the Public Works Department (PWD) cleared the trees to keep the surroundings clean. Thereafter, we identified a place near the lake for planting native trees. The first time we planted the saplings, we asked the residents to look after them. But when we returned after two weeks, we found the plants dead. So, this time we ourselves are maintaining the plants and are visiting the place every week,” said Darwin Annadurai, a volunteer of Eco-Society India.
He said the lake was once used for drinking and agricultural purposes. But after the locals started using borewells, they forgot the lake and started dumping garbage.
“Earlier, sewage was getting mixed with the lake water and the place was even worse. Only after repeated complaints, the officials acted. Now, residents have started dumping plastic bags in the lake, not realising the damage it causes to groundwater. We have also conducted awareness drive on the need to protect the lake. But, it seems, no one bothers,” said Vignesh, another volunteer.
Residents said they were using the water from the lake for domestic purpose. But after it got polluted with sewage and garbage they stopped using it. They also said there has been no dearth of inspection by officials. But no action came forth in protecting the precious waterbody.
When contacted, a senior PWD official said, “Volunteers are doing their bit. Soon we will start cleaning and desilting the lake.”