In the 1980s, the Bhopal region experienced one of the worst industrial disasters marked to date. The catastrophe raised awareness about industrial pollution. The water quality of the lakes in Bhopal, has been significantly impacted by the 1984 gas tragedy. The release of toxic chemicals from the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide plant has contaminated the ground and surface water in the area, including the lakes. Tests conducted on the groundwater in communities situated around the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal have revealed high levels of pollutants such as heavy metals like lead, mercury, cadmium, Gamma HCH, Lindane, Beta HCH, Styrene, Mercury, Alpha HCH, Alpha Naphthol, Phosgene, Dichlorobenzene, etc.
In the years that followed, the Bhopal region dealt with environmental challenges, particularly regarding water quality. The lakes are also heavily polluted with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as benzene and toluene, pesticides, herbicides, and Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, leading to a decline in fish and other aquatic life. The water is also not safe for swimming or other recreational activities.
The government of Madhya Pradesh has been working to improve the water quality of the lakes in Bhopal. However, the scale of the contamination caused by the gas tragedy, as well as the ongoing pollution from industries and sewage, has made it difficult to fully restore the water quality of the lakes. There has been a lack of regular monitoring and testing of the water supply in Bhopal, making it difficult for the government to identify and address any ongoing water contamination issues. Improving Bhopal’s water quality is critical for the health and well-being of the local community.