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Deccan Herald.

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Sankey tank shines in a city of polluted, dirty lakes

At a time when clearing sewage from most lakes in Bengaluru remains a challenge for the civic agencies, Sankey tank shows the way. Having earned compliments for its veritable urban biodiversity hotspot, Sankey tank has a spacious park with several amenities for the public. The Sankey tank and park attract more than 2,000 walkers every day. A spacious children's play area, broad walkways on three sides of the lake, chirping sounds of birds and that pleasant greenery bring visitors here. Then, there are 60 ducks, a new addition, and a special section for pigeons. But that's not all. There is a plan to set up a full-fledged bird shelter given the increasing number of birds around the area, said Ranghanath P V, general secretory of Sankey Park Walkers' Association. Environmentalist Kiran T Kulkarni lauded the association for protecting the lake from loosing its age-old glory. Aconcrete jogging and walking track around the lake, divided by parallel slabs for flowers plants, is also in the offing. "We have started the work on one side at an estimated cost of Rs 1.1 crore. We will construct it in phases. There is a proposal to construct a bridge to connect all sides of the lake," an official in the Lake Development Authority said. "We are also working to upgrade the waste weir at a cost of Rs 50 lakh, which will prevent flooding and mixing with sewage." 'Rich in biodiversity' Vijay Nishanth of Vruksha, a project that aims at quantifying the biodiversity through a scientific tree census and creating a biodiversity portal, feels the surroundings of Sankey tank are a veritable urban biodiversity hotspot with over 40 species of trees. "We mapped a total of 584 adult trees along with 140 saplings. There are 724 trees around the lake," he said, quoting a recent study. Harini Nagendra, professor of sustainability at Azim Premji University, said the number of bird nests in the area indicated that it was rich in biodiversity. It has been home to slender loris, which is in the list of endangered animals, she said. Nishanth, however, flagged a concern: sewage is getting into the lake behind the guesthouse on the western side. S Krishnappa, Engineer-in-Chief, Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB), promised that the quality of water would be tested for any contamination. "Compared to other lakes, this is well-maintained and remains free of sewage. We will definitely test the water to see if sewage has entered the lake," he added.
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