What was once a garbage dumping ground is now a buffer zone of Somasundarapalya Lake at HSR Layout and will soon turn into a mini forest made by the local residents. The once stinky ground is once again green and has been named ‘Sundaravana’.

With no help from government bodies, the local citizens crowdfunded the project and removed ten truckloads of plastic waste from the land.

The land is adjacent to Karnataka Compost Development Corporation and was used as a dumping ground | Express photo

The land is adjacent to Karnataka Compost Development Corporation (KCDC) and was used as a dumping ground. Early this year, the land was handed over to the lakes department of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).

On November 5, the members of a citizen group — Community Task Force (CTF) — entered the 112th day of planting saplings and cleaning the area. The initiative was started in July. Since then, locals have been turning up at the site at 7:30 am every day to drive the project. Kamesh Rastogi, Ramakant Nargud, Lalithamba B V and Venkatesh H S are the co-founders of CTF.

The saplings used to make the mini forest were brought from a BBMP-run nursery.

“This is a signature project initiated by CTF in association with Rotary HSR. With due permission from BBMP’s lake division, we started planting saplings. Citizens from areas like J P Nagar and Arekere have not only contributed to the project financially but also turned up every morning to plant saplings. This is a citizen-driven project. The guidance of former IFS officer Punati Sridhar was also taken,” said Rastogi.

Nargund said, “We have removed 10 truckloads of plastic from this land. One can imagine the amount of plastic being buried in this land over the years. It is exciting to see citizens turning up every morning for this initiative. Fortunately, the land was handed over to the lakes department and today we have managed to turn the dumping ground into a mini forest.”

The co-founders estimated an investment of Rs 9-10 lakh for the entire project out of which, Rs 2 lakh has been raised so far. “We are running a fundraiser campaign on Milaap and are also taking direct contributions to our bank accounts. We are also trying to approach corporates for CSR funding too,” Rastogi said.