How I got funds for a Lake Restoration from the CM

Organizer credit: TVS Academy, Hosur

What was the ‘Lake Restoration’?

Lakes being a home for many organisms have plant as well. Due to an increase in nutrition, specifically Nitrogen and Phosphates, algae grow rapidly, creating an imbalance in the ecosystem. It turns water dirty, and slowly, the water gets covered with plants. This is called Eutrophication. This increase in nutrition is usually caused when we dump Sewarage into water bodies.

Why should citizens care?

The most notable effect of eutrophication is algal blooms . When a bloom occurs, the stream, river, lake or ocean becomes covered with algae, which is usually bright green. In addition to looking pretty ugly, it also blocks light from reaching the water. This prevents the aquatic plants from photosynthesizing, a process which provides oxygen in the water to animals that need it, like fish.

If an algal bloom is so bad that it causes wide-spread death in the water, the organisms that die will all sink to the bottom and start to decompose. The microbes that break down these dead organisms use oxygen to do their work. So, in addition to the lack of oxygen from photosynthesis, there is also now a lack of oxygen from the decomposition of dead organisms. This can overtime cause an increase in infection to people surrounding water bodies, and might also contaminate ground water.

Solution Timeline

stage 1: learning

This stage can be broken down to two parts, asking questions, and then following up on where the answers lead.

Questions :

  1. Who was affected by the problem? (Local residents? Animals dependent on the lake?)
  2. Who was causing the problem? (The residents who turned a blind eye? The industries or hospital dumping waste?)
  3. Who was able to solve the problem?

Investigation :

Questions in hand, Sucheta went to Rama Naicken Lake in Hosur - one of the biggest lakes in the said area. Initial investigation led them to the answer that high mineral content was the cause of algae growth. Further, speaking to neighbours Sucheta got to know that there were a few industries releasing pollutants to this lake, and there was also a hospital that dumped waste in the lake’s surroundings. That is when she approached the ward councillor only to hear “The issue did not exist.” Next, she approached the Hospital Authorities with the help of her parents and enquired about their waste disposal system. Even the hospital authorities denied that dumped waste near the lake but they did not give any information on where they were actually dumping it.

stage 2: solve!

After our thorough investigation, we were in a position to attempt a solution. oseph encouraged her to approach higher level authorities or file an RTI application. This is when Sucheta found out about the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s Grievance Portal. She penned down her research - The cause of algae formation, the replies given by ward councillors and the hospital authorities, the garbage issue and all she knew.

A week had passed by when the Chief Minister noticed this little girl who was concerned about a lake and was doing everything possible to get it fixed. Sucheta received the reply she hadn’t expected. The reply said - In 2016, the Rama Naicken lake underwent rejuvenation. However, now, there weren’t enough funds to allocate for the lake. The Chief Minister promised to keep her request in mind.