August 18, 2016

Reed Lake in Chin State threatened by silt deposits

Reed Lake. Photo: Shin Nay Min
Reed Lake. Photo: Shin Nay Min

Reed Lake, which is considered the heart of picturesque Chin State, is in the throes of a silt scourge as sand washing from the surrounding environment flows into it.
The heart-shaped lake is threatened by silt deposit every year and may be in danger of extinction.
Conservationists have been sounding the alarm in order to preserve the lake.
The depletion of forests in the environs of the lake and damage to watershed areas have been blamed for the silt deposits in the lake.
To save the lake, authorities have banned slash-and-burn cultivation in hilly areas within a three-mile radius of the lake, as well as logging.
Reed Lake has become popular for tourists from the area, as well as from Mizoram, India.
The majority of foreign visitors to the heart-shaped lake, which is 2,966 feet above sea level, are students from Mizoram, while Myanmar people have visited the lake on group trips.
The lake is just two miles away from the border with India. Situated between Chin and Indian mountain ranges, the lake is also known as Rih Dil, or Rih Lake. It has a circumference of 3 miles.
A significant feature of the lake is its tendency to turn into a reddish colour each December, according to local residents.
An attempt to drain the lake was made during the British colonial period. Chin people believe all spirits have to pass through the lake and that it was these spirits who thwarted the attempt to dry it up.
The lake holds high significance in the faith and tradition of the locals, and even people from India believe that their ancestors’ souls are alive in the lake and make prayer visits there.
Myanmar’s proposal for the recognition of Natma Taung National Park in Chin State as a World Heritage Site was rejected by UNESCO, prompting locals and conservationists to revamp their efforts to protect the lake.—Shin Nay Min


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