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Yundang Lake: Xiamen's inlet waterway

Updated: 05 Mar 2014
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Covering a vast water surface area of 1.5 square kilometers, Yundang Lake is China’s largest manmade seawater lake
   
Today's visitors to Xiamen are often enchanted by Yundang Lake, a huge seawater lake that stretches from the geographical center of the city to its western coast. Covering a vast water surface area of 1.5 square kilometers, Yundang Lake is China’s largest manmade seawater lake.
 
But they would never think the lake now called "a name card for Xiamen" was once a highly polluted place that appalled residents just a few decades ago.
 
History of Yundang Lake
 
Yundang Lake was originally a natural harbor. It was turned into an artificial lake after the tideland was enclosed for cultivation in 1971. A long causeway, which is now Hubin Xi Road, was built to separate the lake from the sea.

With the rapid economic development of the city came factories built near the lake that discharged huge volumes of wastewater into the water, causing severe pollution.

"Two decades ago, the lake had such a bad odor that no taxi would leave its windows open when passing by. Flies and mosquitoes were the only things that hovered around the lake," according to Zhang Bin, director of the Yundang Lake Management Center. "The white egrets and other birds that used to stop by disappeared".

White egrets return: Sea water treatment of the lake

In 1988, the Xiamen city government launched a comprehensive improvement project to tackle these environmental issues. Within three years, 24 kilometers of sewage pipe was laid and a treatment plant was built.

In addition to dealing with wastewater, local authorities took a number of other measures to control pollution, including supervising and closing chemical and papermaking mills along the shore, and empowering law enforcement in the lake district to stop people from throwing rubbish into the water and prohibit illegal construction. 
 
  

The picturesque view of Yundang Lake after a series of water treatment efforts
 
All the companies operating along the bank of the lake that failed to establish a sewage disposal system have been shut down over the years.

So far, there have been six phases to the project. The dredging and sewage abatement at Songbai Lake located at the upper reaches of Yundang Lake was completed last year. 
 
 
 
Water quality in the lake has shown great improvement since 2012, according to the latest environmental quality reports released by the Xiamen Environmental Protection Bureau. The report said the concentration of inorganic nitrogen and active phosphate´╝Źtwo main pollutants - remained roughly the same as last year, but the concentration of the anionic surfactants, a key ingredient in detergent, showed a 55.6 percent drop in the levels cine 2010. The statistics showed sewage in the lake was under control and has gradually reduced over the years.

Cruise on the lake: Yundang Lake Cruise Tour launched

The lake project is one of a series of environmental preservation projects that the city's environmental authorities have worked on to build a "Beautiful Xiamen", a strategy that aims to build a city of ecology, civilization and harmony.

However, the lake is not only a waterway but a scenic landscape of Xiamen city and was not used fully for leisure and tourism until recently. 
 



Cruising on the picturesque lake, you can see the egrets flying and hunting in the daytime, admire the splendid night scene around the lake at night, or just savor a cup of Chinese tea, relax and reflect on your life by the quiet and peaceful lake as the boat takes you to cross several fantastic bridges.
 
Now, visitors to this area have been offered a new option to appreciate the rewarding and refreshing scenery – cruising around it on a solar-powered boat, thanks to the Yundang Lake Cruise Tour company (Yundang Yayou) launched by Xiamen Yaxing Boats Ltd. in September 2012.

Three solar-powered boats made their maiden voyages on 6th September, 2012, kicking off the Yundang Lake sightseeing cruises.

Cruising on the picturesque lake, you can see the egrets flying and hunting in the daytime, admire the splendid night scene around the lake at night, or just savor a cup of Chinese tea, relax and reflect on your life by the quiet and peaceful lake as the boat takes you to cross several fantastic bridges.

Yundang Lake cruises are of course much briefer than ocean cruises on massive liners, but are a great way to get a taste of the fun and excitement of a cruise. During their voyage, passengers can view Yundang lake’s lakefront attractions from a different perspective and learn more about the impressive buildings and history of the city from the tour guide.

SOURCE: WOX Info
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