Saving Inle Lake
The unusually hot last summer had so devastating effects on the people of Myanmar and Lake Inle as well. The second largest lake in Myanmar, Inle is hugely popular with tourists for its cool weather, culture and customs of local ethnic groups, natural scenic beauty, rich biodiversity and unique rowing technique of Inthar (Inle dwellers).
Now the water level has shrunk to its lowest point in history mainly due to the super hot weather and late monsoon season. Apart from the weather phenomenon , the density of the population has long been a concern for the Inle environ. There are more than 1000 people per square mile in Inle and the surrounding area, which is more than 5 times the national average. More population translates more rubbish in the lake, which leads to an increasing level of silt and algae. Some complain deforestation along the edge of the lake is partly to blame.
The Inle Lake conservation works could be a daunting task for the country alone. Last week, UNDP and FREDA, the Forest Resource Environment Development and Conservation Association, said they are planning to ask for technical advice from a Japanese environmental protection organization. Funding is one main obstacle. Ten million US dollars are in urgent need to begin the job.
Nevertheless, tourists are unfazed by the dwindling condition of the lake. Statistics show the number of tourists who have visited the lake this year has remained unchanged compared to that of last year. That is a good sign. Inle still retains its place in the hearts of tourists and local people alike.