VietNamNet Bridge – The largest natural lake in Vietnam, which is located in the northeastern province of Bac Kan, is being threatened by untreated waste water from a mining company. Experts have warned that the lake may disappear in several dozens of years.
On April 27, the association of people who love Ba Be Lake met to discuss the threats to the lake. Earlier, residents who live around the lake sent hundreds of letters of petition to relevant agencies accusing a mining company that has discharged waste water to the lake since 2008.
Last week, poet Duong Thuan, from the association of people who love Ba Be Lake, Prof. Pham Vinh Cu, Prof. Duong Hao and Prof. Dang Hung Vo made a field trip to the lake.
“The Ba Be Lake is dying,” said poet Duong Thuan after the trip.
Thuan said that miners have blocked streams and are pumping water up to mines to wash ores, causing a shortage of water for irrigation. Wastewater is then discharged to rivers and streams that flow to Ba Be Lake. When it rains, wastewater and mud from the mines runs into the lake, resulting in an underdevelopment of rice.
Prof. Chu Hao, former Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, said that if trees continue to be chopped down and ores continue to be exploited in the current way, Ba Be Lake will disappear in several decades.
Prof. Dang Hung Vo, former Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment said: “If you go to Ba Be Lake the moment, you will feel great anguish. To get rich, we have to exchange, but this exchange is absurd!”
Prof. Vo said that mining activities in this area have affected the cultural characters of ethnic minority groups in this region. “To do business, Bac Kan can develop tourism or forestry, not develop regardless of environment destruction,” he said.
The association of people who love Ba Be Lake is about to report the case to the Prime Minister.
Having been formed approximately 200 million years ago, the 10,048ha lake is surrounded by limestone cliffs, which in turn are covered by primary forests. Three rivers, named Nang, Ta Han, and Nam Cuong, and a stream are the main inflows to the lake. The Nang River enters the lake through a large waterfall called Dau Dang. In the lake there are also three islands, named An Khau, Khau Cum and Po Giai Ma.
Ba Be Lake is a featured geographical science and is a biodiversity reservoir. It is a part of the Ba Be National Park.
In 1995, Ba Be Lake was recognized as one of the 20 special fresh-water lakes in the world that need protection. In 2004, the Ba Be National Park was recognized as the heritage park of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).