Bengaluru residents have become increasingly cautious of the quality of the vegetables they use because of the risk of presence of pesticides and other chemicals. Well, their lives have just got harder as a high level of toxic substances have been found in milk supplied from areas on the outskirts of the city.


A study conducted by the Centre for Environment and Development, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), identified that areas lying near the Vrishabhavathi, a tributary of the Arkavathi River, are at major risk of chemical pollution. The tributary flows downstream past Bidadi into the Byramangala reservoir, from where farmers in Chikkakuntanahalli, M Gopahalli and Bannigiri use its water for agriculture.


The study was conducted by Priyanka Jamwal, fellow (water, land and society) at ATREE. "High levels of lead, chromium, nickel, copper and manganese were found in baby corn cultivation and milk samples in cows from the three villages in the surroundings, exposing not just locals but also urban consumers to the potential risk of consuming contaminated food," she explained.


Farmers let their animals graze near the polluted water bodies and at garbage dumps, which increases the risk of toxic substances entering the animals’ body. Ram Prasad, convener of the Friends of Lakes volunteer group, said the chemical content found in plastic and garbage is consumed by cows and is harmful for humans.