A day after thousands of devotees barged into Rabindra Sarobar and performed Chhath Puja rituals, several numbers of dead fish, a tortoise and a snake were found floating into the waters of the national lake today. The damage to the biodiversity comes after two days, when a large number of puja revellers broke the locks of the gates of Rabindra Sarobar and trooped inside the lake.

Thousands of devotees kept flocking to the lake till yesterday, to pay obeisance to the Sun, resulting in damaging small plants and trampling the grass. Hundreds of devotees were seen pouring oil and ghee into the water while performing the rituals. Plastic bottles, flowers, leaves, ‘diyas’ were seen at many places inside the national water body, flouting the national green tribunal directives that had banned the ritual of Chhath Puja or any other festival inside the lake.

Several environmentalists had expressed concerns that the violation of the NGT directions will have long-lasting and irreversible impact on the biodiversity of the flora and fauna of the lake which is considered to be the lungs of South Kolkata. The apprehensions of the environmentalists came true when several big and small dead fish and other water animals were found floating in the lake waters today.

“Like every other day, I had come to take a walk at the lake when I noticed a dead fish, considerably big in size, floating on the water which has turned oily in the past two to three days,” claimed environment activist Sumita Banerjee. “Later, I found several such dead fish and snake floating on the water. However, seeing a big dead tortoise came as a real shock to me. This is unprecedented as I have never seen a dead tortoise in the lake,” rued the environment crusader who has been associated with the protection of the national water body since years.

Environmentalists informed that the damage to the fauna of the lake had come due to decrease in the level of dissolved oxygen in the lake waters that had been caused as a result of pouring oil and ghee. “More number of fish and other animals are likely to be lost in Rabindra Sarobar in the next few days,” informed an environmentalist. The impact of the decrease in dissolved oxygen in the waters, is to continue for some more days,” he added.