The Lodhi Garden – Delhi

Let’s Revive The Lodhi Garden,
Dying Every Moment Due to Sewage and Pollution, Created by Us...

Once declared by Time Magazine as the Best Urban Oasis of Asia, Lodhi Garden is a public park in New Delhi. Generously sprinkled with tombs and trees, it is frequented by top politicians, bureaucrats, businessmen, diplomats and other Very Important People (VIPs).

The Lodhi Garden in central Delhi is famous for its flowers, trees, birds and sloping lawns but before the garden there were the tombs. Spread over 90 acres (360,000 m2), it contains, Mohammed Shah’s Tomb, Tomb of Sikandar Lodi, Shisha Gumbad and Bara Gumbad, architectural works of the 15th century by Lodhis, who ruled parts of northern India and Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of modern-day Pakistan, from 1451 to 1526. Initiated by the Sayyids (1414-1451) and later Lodhis (1451-1526), who once ruled the Delhi sultanate, the tombs, now ruined, make dramatic centerpieces in this garden, which was created around them in 1936 on the site of a village called Khairpur. The park was originally named Lady Hardinge, the then British viceroy’s wife.

Visible from Lodhi Road, the mausoleum of Muhammad Shah Sayyid, said to have been a lazy and inefficient ruler, stands on a mound. One of Delhi’s earliest octagonal tombs, it is surrounded by royal palms and has a verandah running around it with three arched openings on each of the eight sides. Strangely, it is Delhi’s only octagonal tomb with no walled compound. Perhaps the money ran out or the walls collapsed.

The second octagonal tomb in Lodhi Garden is built over the grave of Sikandar Lodhi. This 16th century ruler of the Afghan Lodi dynasty was handsome and brave, but also ruthless and bigoted. That personality is reflected in the tomb. While blue tiles deck the chhatris and battlements, its outer wall spreads out into the grassy expanse in fort-like ramparts. Commissioned by Sikandar’s son Ibrahim, it is India’s earliest surviving enclosed garden tomb (1517).

Lodhi Gardens is a city park situated in New Delhi, India. The site is now protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).The gardens are situated between Khan Market and Safdarjung’s Tomb on Lodhi Road and is a hotspot for morning walks for the Delhiites.

In amidst of historical monuments, lush green gardens, chirping birds, a lotus garden, a beautiful lake, lawns, flowering plants, even a bonsai park, the Lodhi Garden became the hot favorite for the who’s who of Delhi and India for obvious reasons as it has become synonymous to the  green lungs near the heart of Delhi.

The Water Body

The Athpula Bridge (Eight-legged Bridge), close to the garden’s chief entrance, is one of few surviving works built in Delhi during Mughal emperor Akbar’s reign (when Agra, not Delhi, was the capital). It spanned a tributary of the Yamuna. Today its seven arches overlook a huge fountain. Just below the bridge, covering the span on both the sides, lies a 2 acre-feet lake, housing about 5.6 million liters of water, once boasted of clear water, a good population of fishes, numerous bird species and a thriving aquatic & terrestrial ecosystem. The man-made water body, in its golden days used to have good population of fishes and therefore was a nesting destination for a god number of birds. It was a rich source for irrigation too in early days.

But eventually the things started to change. The source of clean water – the River Yamuna, that used to be the lifeline of Delhi in olden and golden days, started getting polluted due to massive waste getting disposed of in the river. Apart from the Pollution being added, the Dam technology also started controlling of the volume of water in the river.

Eventually the water source for the Lake @ Lodhi Garden was changed from River Yamuna to the treated water discharge from the government owned sewage treatment plant. Though there has been adequate staff for gardening and maintenance of plants, tree, flower beds and bonsai garden, but the lake management is a different science altogether. This resulted in a gradual decline in water quality and overall atmosphere. The residents close by and the daily visitors to the park started complaining about foul smell emanating from the lake, a ridiculously large number of mosquitoes bordering on infestation and dying fish across the lake. All these factors made the premises of Lodi Garden somewhat unpleasant for the visitors and the residents nearby.

The Visitors & the residents

It is very important to understand the visitors profile and the residents nearby, who had complaints. Being in heart of Delhi, The Lodhi Garden is surrounded by the residences of bureaucrats, ministers, lawyers, doctors, industrialists, administrators and some very important people.

It is a plush vicinity and a green area, relatively quiet and being within the Garden, keeps you away from the hustle of the political capital and bustle of the ever-growing traffic on the roads of Delhi. Thus is becomes an obvious choice for the high profile state guests, high commissioners, media persons and various celebrities from different walks of life.

A compliant from such high profile people would be hard to handle for the administration (New Delhi Municipal Corporation – NDMC), and thus they wanted to resolve the issues at the earliest and in the most effective way. Thus they preferred to work upon a Biological eco-friendly solution instead of any mechanical, physical, chemical or hydraulic process and that how our solution emerged in the scene.

The Status of the Lake

Before moving on to the actual test, it is important to understand the various parameters that are required to be tested for a water body. Some of the key features are as under;

  • Algal Growth Rate: A measure of algal productivity in a body of water, the growth rate measures the mass of carbon used annually by algae per unit area of Lake Surface. The growth rate, typically referred to as Primary Productivity, is expressed as an index figure in grams of carbon per square meter per year, and indicates the state of Eutrophication of a body of water. Algal productivity is influenced by the quantities of nutrients that flow into, or fall onto, the lake each year and the number of days of sunshine. Another important factor is the mixing of the lake, which brings up to the surface where algae exist nutrients which have accumulated near the bottom of the lake.
  • Odor: There’s nothing worse than that musty, rotten egg, sulfur-type smell that’s pungent enough to ruin spring strolls by the waterbody. Those odors are common in ponds that aren’t aerated, particularly during certain times of year. In the summer and winter, non-aerated ponds stratify into layers of water with distinct temperature differences. This locks the bottom layer away for months. While the water layer is trapped down there, the oxygen is used up quickly. It goes from an aerobic environment to an anaerobic environment – which is perfect for slow-moving anaerobic bacteria that use enzymes to ferment and digest the decaying muck on the bottom. Those microorganisms ultimately produce waste products, including carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide, which is that lovely rotten egg smell.
  • pH: pH is a measure of the acidity of alkalinity of water, expressed in terms of its concentration of hydrogen ions. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14. A pH of 7 is considered to be neutral. Substances with pH of less that 7 are acidic; substances with pH greater than 7 are basic. The term pH was derived from the manner in which the hydrogen ion concentration is calculated – it is the negative logarithm of the hydrogen ion (H+) concentration. What this means to those of us who are not mathematicians is that at higher pH, there are fewer free hydrogen ions, and that a change of one pH unit reflects a tenfold change in the concentrations of the hydrogen ion. For example, there are 10 times as many hydrogen ions available at a pH of 7 than at a pH of 8.
  • Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD): In environmental chemistry, the chemical oxygen demand (COD) test is commonly used to indirectly measure the amount of organic compounds in water. Most applications of COD determine the amount of organic pollutants found in surface water (e.g. lakes and rivers) or wastewater, making COD a useful measure of water quality. It is expressed in milligrams per liter (mg/L), which indicates the mass of oxygen consumed per liter of solution.
  • Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD): Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD, also called biological oxygen demand) is the amount of dissolved oxygen needed (i.e., demanded) by aerobic biological organisms to break down organic material present in a given water sample at certain temperature over a specific time period. The BOD value is most commonly expressed in milligrams of oxygen consumed per liter of sample during 5 days of incubation at 20 °C and is often used as a surrogate of the degree of organic pollution of water. BOD can be used as a gauge of the effectiveness of wastewater treatment plants. Though BOD is similar in function to chemical oxygen demand (COD), in that both measure the amount of organic compounds in water. However, COD is less specific, since it measures everything that can be chemically oxidized, rather than just levels of biodegradable organic matter.
  • Dissolved Oxygen (DO): Dissolved oxygen (DO) is the amount of oxygen that is present in the water. It is measured in milligrams per liter (mg/L), or the number of milligrams of oxygen dissolved in a liter of water. Reduced DO levels in stream water may be because the water is too warm. The increased molecular activity of the warm water pushes the oxygen molecules out of the spaces between the moving water molecules. Decreased DO levels may also be indicative of too many bacteria and an excess amount of biological oxygen demand – BOD (untreated sewage, partially treated sewage, organic discharges, and anoxic discharges) which use up DO. A third reason for decreased DO may be fertilizer runoff from farm fields and lawns. The same fertilizer which was meant to make land plants grow better now makes the aquatic plants do the same. If the weather becomes cloudy for several days, respiring plants will use much of the DO while failing to photosynthesize. When the increased numbers of aquatic plants eventually die, they support increasing amounts of bacteria which use large amounts of DO.
  • Ammonia (NH3): Ammonia may be taken up by plants or oxidized by bacteria into nitrate (NO3-) or nitrite (NO2). Ammonia (NH3+) is a colorless gas with a strong pungent odor. Ammonia will react with water to form a weak base. The term ammonia refers to two chemical species which are in equilibrium in water (NH3, un-ionized and NH4+, ionized). Tests for ammonia usually measure total ammonia (NH3 plus NH4+). The toxicity to ammonia is primarily attributable to the un-ionized form (NH3), as opposed to the ionized form (NH4+).Nitrogen is an essential nutrient that is required by all plants and animals for the formation of amino acids. In its molecular form, nitrogen cannot be used by most aquatic plants, therefore it must be converted to another form.
  • Sodium (Na): High salinity water (EC1.50-3.00) with SAR’s above 4 needs to be carefully managed. It is recommended that once a year the soils should be subject to testing in order to assess possible sodium problems. The higher the salinity, the higher the SAR index in order to cause infiltration problems.
  • Total Organic Carbon (TOC): Total organic carbon (TOC) is the amount of carbon found in an organic compound and is often used as a non-specific indicator of water quality. A typical analysis for TOC measures both the total carbon present and the so-called “inorganic carbon” (IC), the latter representing the content of dissolved carbon dioxide and carbonic acid salts. Subtracting the inorganic carbon from the total carbon yields TOC.
  • Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen: The Kjeldahl method or Kjeldahl digestion in analytical chemistry is a method for the quantitative determination of organic nitrogen in chemical substances like ammonia. This method was developed by Johan Kjeldahl in 1883.The method consists of heating a substance with sulphuric acid, which decomposes the organic substance by oxidation to liberate the reduced nitrogen as ammonium sulphate. In this step potassium sulphate is added to increase the boiling point of the medium (from 337 °C to 373 °C) . Chemical decomposition of the sample is complete when the initially very dark-colored medium has become clear and colorless.

On closer inspection of the lake and confirmed by water tests, it was concluded that the dissolved oxygen content of the lake was dangerously low due to algal infestation. This also meant that the lake water had become a breeding ground for mosquitoes. The gradual decline in the sighting of different bird species coupled with dying fish spoke of an ecosystem fast declining.

The Lodhi Garden - Delhi

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End date: Jun 29, 2020

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