Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Initiating People-Centric platform for addressing fluorosis in Chikkaballapur

31st Oct 2018.  

When I type the word “convergence” on my dictionary app, one of the meaning reads “the merging of distinct technologies, industries or devices into a unified whole”. This seems so apt for something like assembling a computer desktop, right? But more relevant usage is also seen in the development sector or projects, where bringing diverse actors together to achieve a common goal is increasingly put forth as a solution to many development problems.

The word is heavily used by different actors in different context. I’m no exception to this.

I would like to share my experience when I put this word into practice. I had organized a stakeholders meeting in Bagepalli in southern district of Chikkaballapur in Karnataka with help of our INREM team and Taluk Health Officer, Bagepalli. This is part of an ongoing European Union (EU) funded project on fluoride and arsenic issues across India.

After sharing observations from our team we opened the floor for discussion.  Participants shared objectives and numbers, of their presence and outreach. The issue and history of fluorosis in these parts of Chikkaballapur was well known among them. Some of the highlights of this meeting are as follows.

One, when participants expressed gratitude to INREM for enabling coming together of these actors, some of them pointed us that it is time to have “such meetings”, where there is representation of government, NGOs and other civil society groups seated together to discuss how to mitigate fluorosis. Because in real world, all problems have multiple linkages or causes to it. Hence there is a need to share or draw knowledge from different disciplines like Water, Sanitation, Health, Education, Nutrition, Agriculture, Ecology etc. Based on this specific inputs from participants have been noted, converting plans into action for fluorosis mitigation is next phase of our work under this project.

Second, participants used words like “convergence”, “forum”, “co-ordination”, “platform” to describe this meeting and wanted to contribute through their own work. We also have a name, it is “people-centric platforms” to ensure civil society have a voice on complex water quality problems. Whatever is the name, people want to solve such problems. Participants requested us to hold such meeting once in 3 months. If such spaces are coordinated well enough, the goal of safe drinking water and good nutrition for all, can be achieved. 

Finally, such meetings need to happen closer to the area of work. For instance participants felt Taluk or block level meeting are good way to initiate and build “people-centric platforms”.   

As this meeting ends, there are handshakes as they see possibilities opening for working together on this issue before they savor bisibele bath and curd rice for lunch.

                                                     KIRAN KUMAR SEN

INREM Foundation

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Session on Stakeholder Mapping and Engagement at Anil Agarwal Environment Training Institute

Between September 25-September 28, a training program was co-organized by Biome Environmental  (Biome) in partnership with Center for Science and Environment (CSE), New Delhi. The training program was focused on 'Urban Wetlands Management'. The location of the training was Anil Agarwal Environment Training Institute (AAETI), Nimli, Rajasthan. The campus is an education and training initiative of CSE equipped with rainwater harvesting and wastewater treatment systems (reed bed and soil biotechnology).

Biome also conducted a session on 'Stakeholder Mapping and Engagement strategies: bringing together stakeholders for robust wetland management' on 27th September. The presentation is available at: The session included a presentation and interactive session followed by a short documentary on Kaikondrahalli lake.

Biome's session focused on lakes of Bangalore, historical and current narrative, and community led and managed initiatives in Bangalore. 


Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Water quality testing kit from FFEM

On 25th September, 2018, Foundation for Environmental Monitoring(FFEM) conducted a training workshop on how to use their low cost smartphone-based water quality testing kits. Training covered water quality testing for a few very important parameters like pH, Nitrates, Phosphates and DO. 

The training session was attended by members of Biome Environmental Trust, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment(ATREE) and Jakkur and Kaikondrahalli lake groups.

FFEM is a Bangalore based nonprofit organisation, which create products that are designed for field use. Their products are integrated with apps that posts test results to online databases. Some of their products are fife water and fife soil. More details about the testing kits can be found in the following link.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Map of Bangalore Lakes and BWSSB/BBMP STPs

The link shared in this blog takes you to Google My Maps in which there is information about various lakes, and existing/proposed STPs of Bangalore that are documented by Biome Environmental Trust. Upon clicking on each icons under each layer, you are prompted with either some set of information or a few links which will provide more information.   

Friday, September 14, 2018

Hebbagodi Lake Report

Hebbagodi Lake is on 38 acres and is located very close to Biocon Limited in Electronic City, Bangalore. We visited the lake on 29 May 2018, and gathered that although the lake falls under the jurisdiction of Hebbagodi City Municipal Corporation, it is maintained by Biocon Limited since 2016. There is no STP at the lake, but the pollutant load of raw sewage entering the lake is reduced by addition of a certain type of bacteria based enzymes. There is one raw sewage inlet entering the lake from SW direction, and an outlet in the NE of the lake. Apart from the main inlet, there are four storm water inlets and a few inlets from individual houses where raw sewage enters. Upstream of Hebbagodi is Thirupalya and Shikaripalya lakes. Also there is Veerasandra lake which joins Hebbagodi from the North. There are 400 floating wetlands in the lake which are placed at the edges of the lake and near the outlet.

Hebbagodi Lake series Map

Overview and Observations
Hebbagodi lake is located in Electronic City, Bangalore.

Lake Area
38 acres
No STP exists at the lake but bacteria based enzyme is added upstream of the lake to reduce the pollutant load of the sewage entering the lake from SE direction. Floating wetlands and aerators in the lake also help in maintaining the water quality in the lake.
There is a motorable road around the lake. About half of the lake perimeter is fenced. There exist a childrens play area and a plan to install benches around the lake. Many shrubs, flowering plants and about 300 trees are planted around the lake. There is one primary inlet through which the sewage from the SW direction. The only outlet from the lake is located in the NE. Although there are fishes in the lake, no commercial fishing takes place. There are three gates around the lake to prevent the cows coming in and grazing. There are five people who work at the lake to maintain it. The Lake
Only one inlet was identified from which sewage would enter Hebbagodi Lake. It is summarized below.
Sewage inflow
Partially treated sewage along with storm water enters the lake from SW direction. Upstream of the inlet is Thirupalya and Shikaripalya lakes. About 2 MLD of water enters into the lake.

The outlet from the lake is an overflow system in the NE of the lake.

No STP exists in the lake premises. However, a bacteria based enzyme provided by Jalavahini Management Systems added at various locations on the upstream side of the lake has helped in reducing the BOD levels from 250 ppm to 30-40 ppm near the outlets along with the reduction caused by wetland species. There are eight aerators to keep the DO levels in right amounts. Water quality is tested twice every month at Biocon labs and once a month at some external lab. The points of water sample collection are at the the inlet, centre and outlet.
The Wetlands
There are about 400 floating wetlands at the edges and near the outlet of the lake. These floating wetlands are tied to the edge of the lake bund. Also, There is no stone placed on the slopes of the lake to hold the sand. To control the erosion they have planted vetiver on the slopes whose roots grow deep and helps in holding the soil together and prevents erosion. Vettiver is also found  in the floating wetlands. Other wetland plant species are Canna, Colocasia, Nutgrass and Aligator Weed. The size of each floating wetland is about 4ft*8ft.

Contact Info:
Ashwin, Engineer, EHS, Biocon:8884501116
Naveen, JMS Biotech: 9964755220
Shashank, JMS Biotech: 9742415496