China’s disappearing lakes

12 December 2011

Unpolluted waters provide life support (Photo: Bill Harding)

China is managing to lose around 20 lakes per year!  A report today by Associated Press of Pakistan claims that:

China has about 24,000 natural lakes, but they are disappearing at a rate of about 20 every year, according to a declaration released at an environmental forum. China’s natural lakes cover an area of 83,000 square km and play an important role in maintaining ecological balance, controlling floods and reducing droughts, according to a declaration issued at the First China Forum on Lakes in Nanjing on Sunday, the capital of east China’s Jiangsu province.

However, China’s lakes have been confronted with severe challenges due to climate change resulting from human activity, the declaration said.

“Every year, about 20 natural lakes dishearteningly disappear,” the declaration said, noting that human activity has created serious consequences for the lakes. [‘Dishearteningly disappear’ must be THE understatement of 2011…]

“Water quality is deteriorating, sediment is accumulating, wetlands are shrinking in size and aquatic organisms are dying out. Consequently, the lakes’ capacity for flood control and drought relief have been affected,” the declaration said.

The declaration said the lakes will not be able to adapt themselves to the damage caused by human activity.

China’s Minister of Water Resources Chen Lei pledged at the forum to increase government input into lake protection.

More than 800 experts and officials attended the forum, which was held from Dec. 10 to 11.

Lake Champlain (Vermont USA) is in a huge mess, but some farmers are doing their bit to try and reduce the total load of pollution washing into it every year.

Lake Champlain does not meet federal and state water-quality standards despite a $100 million-plus cleanup campaign. Parts of the lake, such as St. Albans Bay and Missisquoi Bay, are seriously ill. They are subject to thick, choking algae blooms caused by an overabundance of the mineral phosphorous. Cow manure and synthetic farm fertilizers are major sources of phosphorous throughout the lake, especially in the ailing northern sections.

This week, Vermont dairy farmers will bump up against the annual winter manure-spreading ban.

Leading that charge is James H. Maroney Jr., a former art dealer who relocated to Vermont in the 1980s to start an organic dairy farm in Leicester that has since gone out of business. Now his passion is citizen advocacy for a cleaner lake and a markedly different dairy industry. His proposals include:

• 100 percent organic dairy farming in Vermont.

• A strict limit of no more than one cow for every two acres of cropland upon which the cow’s manure is spread and her feed is grown.

• State regulation over the sale of nitrogen and phosphorous fertilizers.

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