Naini Lake is a natural freshwater lake, of tectonic origin, located amidst Nainital city of Uttarakhand. It is lunar-shaped and has an outlet at the southeastern end. Naini Lake is one of the four lakes in Kumaon hills, the three other being Sattal Lake, Bhimtal Lake and Naukuchiyatal Lake. Balia Nala is the main feeder-stream of the lake. Other than this, 26 major drains, including the three perennial ones, feed it.
Increasing population, unplanned growth of human settlements and tourists together appear to have taken a toll of the beautiful lake that gives the hill resort of Nainital its name. According to a recent study conducted by D K Pandey of the Dehradun-based Forest Research Institute, the water quality of the Naini lake has been steadily deteriorating and is highly polluted due to the addition of exogenous wastes, as a result of more than 37 per cent increase in human population in the catchment area of the lake and too many tourists. Also, high siltation resulting in reduction of lake depth, the depth of lake have reduced from its original depth of 29 m in 1871 to only 13m in 2007.
With an increasing amount of sewage, municipal and domestic wastes finding their way into the lake, the quantity of organic matter in its waters has risen sharply. This has starved the lake of cleansing oxygen, pushing up the biological oxygen demand (BOD) -- by over 20 times over a 10-year period. From 15.5 parts per million (ppm) in 1981, the BOD shot up to 357.23 ppm in 1991. Similarly, the concentration of free carbon dioxide in the lake --- which depends on the population of aquatic organisms and the type of waste added to the water ecosystem --- has increased by 670 per cent over the same period.
In 1993, petition was filed by Dr. Rawat, who is a member of social action group called 'Nainital Bachao Samiti', who approached the Court seeking its assistance to pass such orders and give such directions as would prevent further pollution of already...