Bengaluru’s poor sewage treatment infrastructure could further spread the coronavirus contagion, says a new report. This includes outlet of untreated wastewater and faecal sludge into larger water bodies.

‘Blindsided’, a report by the Bangalore Environment Trust (BET), an advisory body headed by environmentalist Yellappa Reddy, said that the virus may spread through water and affect people, animals, irrigation and agriculture. “SARS-CoV-2 (or coronavirus) is a polluting pathogen greatly threatening our lakes and rivers. The virus swimming in the waterways is a disconcerting and terrifying fact,” said the report authored by Nirmala Gowda, Dr Nidhi Paliwal, Rajani Santhosh and Sandhya Balasubramanian.

The report comes amid the B.S. Yediyurappa-led Karnataka government’s decision to ease restrictions and allow businesses to start operations to kickstart the economy after a month-long lockdown.

Yediyurappa’s biggest challenge is opening up businesses in Bengaluru since it is the state’s growth engine, but has also recorded the highest number of covid-19 positive cases so far. There are at least 21 containment zones in Bengaluru and the district administration is trying to customize the area that will be under lockdown to help open up large parts of the city after 3 May.

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has already sealed off two localities with more than 40,000 people after several cases were reported.

The BET report said infected sewage flowing in from drains, septic tanks and soak pits in the two sealed off areas, including Bapujinagara and Padarayanapura, could potentially contaminate groundwater. The two localities have a large number of shanties, small homes and are close to a storm water drain, which finds its way to other water bodies.

BET urged the government to issue disinfection guidelines and identify sewage treatment plants that could treat wastewater from infected areas.

News Source: Livemint


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