for it is in the minds of men and women that the defences of peace and the conditions for sustainable development must be built. ~UNESCO

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Dying Lake Calls For Your Help...

Beauty is best and in its truest form, when the thing of beauty is natural.

The lake when it was clean and at its best.

The world is losing, at an alarming rate, all its natural diversity to modern development and changes. Green natural forests turn into lofty crowd of skyscrapers. Water bodies are not always crystal clear and clean. The number of endangered animals is on a rise. We ought to do something. Global thinkers are thinking but with little support and action. These thoughts made me to give a closer view at a lake near my school.

Samtengang is a small plateau located in Wangdue, Bhutan. The place is a small heaven with a suitable climate and a birds eye view of the lower villages. The place is known for its wonderful location and some know it by the presence of a lake. The lake is locally known as Luetsho. Some call it the blind lake.

water level has decreased by 70 %

 The lake has a rich history connected to it. Legend speaks of the miraculous formation of the lake. Most local people speak of this same story about the lake.

In an unknown time in the past, the place where the lake is situated today was a vast agricultural field owned by a local farmer. One day, a beautiful lady came to the farmer while he was guarding his barley in the field. The lady asked the farmer to go home and rest while she agreed to guard the field. The exhausted farmer agreed. When the farmer returned the next day, he got the surprise of his life. His field was replaced  by a vast stretch of water. The field turned into a lake and the beautiful lady was none other than the mermaid (Tsho- moem) of the lake. The farmer got so furious that he started to dig at the south side of the lake so that he could drain out the water. At this, the mermaid came and begged him to stop the act.  She promised him wealth with a gift of a mythical bull, commonly known as Tsho Lang. Again, the farmer agreed and so did the lake remained at this place.
This is one story of many stories about the lake.

Turning into an ugly swampy area
The lake was then received warmly by the community and respected its presence like any other natural body. Bhutanese believe that a lake brings prosperity to the community nearby, so did the samtengang people. We also talk of spirits dwelling in such natural elements.The lake played home to variety of avian life. Some people talk of different species of fish that used to be a part of the lake. Every visitor viewed the lake with respect and admiration. 
this particular weed is the most rampant one

 Now, Luetsho is but dying a slow death.  The lake is getting covered by weeds. The weeds are winning the war as they grow at a fast pace. Moreover, the stream that provides water to the lake is nowhere to be seen. Fish are dying and water birds does not frequent the place like before. Water level is decreasing. The lake is in dire need of a major restoration.

 Such birds are now rarely seen at the lake
Samtengang Middle Secondary School, being the closest neighbour, tries to restore it with some budget from the government but the work seems beyond the capacity of the school. Starting in 2009, the school has been pulling out weeds from the lake, and cleaning the surroundings but the weeds grow back overnight. Owing to a bitter accident at the lake side involving a student's death earlier this year, the school has stopped to work at the lake. However, the school restored the fencing with government budget. Looking at the current situation, the lake is sure to disappear in the near future.

Avian life find it difficult to live under such a blanket of weed
We are going to lose a significant natural body if something is not done. I believe that a water body is also a plus point from the scientific point of view. The lake helps to moderate the climatic conditions of the place and also aids in the maintenance of the natural food chain. On a layman's scale, the lake is a piece of natural beauty, untouched. It is used for various purposes. We can use it as a tourist spot or a film shooting spot. The schools can use it for teaching learning purposes. An environmentalist will have comprehensive points on the advantages of the lake.

The only part of the lake which is clear and believed to be  the eye of the lake

The idea here is not of the lake's beauty or uses but of its current status. Let us revive the lake and be proud for being a part of a noble deed. It can be a call to the Samtengang community, or government authorities, or environment enthusiasts.  We hold equal responsibility. It would be wise to keep up a natural lake, when people take pain and budget to develop artificial lakes  in some parts of the world.The lake is literally crying for help. We have to do something before it turns into another ugly bog.

The most beautiful weed that invades the lake

1 comment:

  1. Sir, this is really a touching piece of writing which not only make us aware of legend behind such natural elements, but also calls for need of preservation of our sacred resources. Through this spectacular story-line, we are reminded that all the natural beauty which we enjoyed for ages are prone to wither slowly, but if we contemplate deeply, our own deeds might be the cause of such menace. So, while appreciating the myths behind the existence of Gods and Spirits in all natural elements like water bodies, cliffs, trees, etc, we should inculcate the spirit of conserving them so that we are not punished with natural calamities like drought, flood, famine etc.