Environmental groups in Mandalay say they are fed up with the level of pollution in one of their region’s most picturesque landmarks.
Mogok Lake is a major tourist attraction and a well-known scenic spot located 100km north of the city.
The surrounding area is known as Ruby Land, and too draws many visitors for its breathtaking views, with the rainy season mist only adding to its charm and beauty.
But the lake has become polluted. Now after years of neglect on the part of the local government, environmentalists have decided to take matters into their own hands.
Environmental groups Sein Yaung So Activities and Sein Lan Mogok have teamed up with a local National League for Democracy (NLD) office, and are staging a mass clean-up of the lake.
Ye Aung, Sein Lan Mogok’s coordinator, says that human-induced changes to the local ecosystem have led to a spike in the growth of weeds.
“The poor waste disposal system in the homes surrounding the lake has led to the growth of water hyacinth which thrive with the nitrogen,” he said.
The lake plays an important role in the area’s ecosystem, and the groups say the clean-up campaign will go a long way in protecting the local flora and fauna.
Local NLD member Pwint Phyu says that it is crucial to fight back in order to restore balance to the ecosystem.
“We are doing what we can to preserve our environment. Mogok Lake is a landmark in this region and it also helps balance the weather in the area.
“From an environmental point of view, this lake is priceless,” she added
Lakes in the city of Mandalay are cleaned and maintained by local authorities, but officials in Mogok appear to have taken their eye off the ball.
This is the second time that this coalition of environmental groups and the NLD have taken up the reins and cleaned the lake themselves.
Blessed with such outstanding natural beauty at their doorstep, the people of Mogok say their lake should be preserved for future generations.
“This lake can be regarded as the jewel of the town,” said Maung Maung Oo of Seing Yaung So Activities
“If we can restore its natural beauty, it will enhance the landscape. However at the moment, it’s in a dire condition.”