Saving a Dying Lake
Urban expansion and unplanned growth in Gorakhpur has degraded its water bodies. The Ramgarh Lake, over 20 sq km in area, is now reduced by pollution and encroachment to only 17 sq km. GEAG has been campaigning for its restoration since the 1990s. One positive outcome of its prolonged and multi-faceted campaign is that the average citizen of Gorakhpur is now aware of the importance of the lake. GEAG also facilitated the formation of a citizen’s committee to advocate for the conservation of the lake. With constant efforts, the Ramgarh Development Plan was cleared in 2009, which has brought about much improvement. The area of the lake has been demarcated, encroachments have been removed, and plans made for de-silting the lake, removing the water hyacinth, and setting up sewage treatment plants. The Gorakhpur Municipal Council is also working to set up a modern solid waste disposal facility. The Ramgarh Lake project has the potential of earning GHG credits under the clean development mechanism (CDM) and becoming the first conservation project of its kind in the country to do so. GEAG is also involved in raising awareness about issues related to water, sanitation and solid waste disposal, the latter two being the bane of the wetlands.