News / Asia

Tourism, Development Threaten Burmese Lake

Tourism, Development Threaten Burmese Lakei
X
April 23, 2013 12:55 AM
As Asia’s newest tourist hotspot, Burma is experiencing a surge in foreigners eager to visit places that were closed-off for decades. But the spike in tourists and growth of new industries are taking an environmental toll. Rapid development is straining an already damaged ecosystem in Burma’s scenic Inle Lake. Steve Sanford reports for VOA.
As Asia’s newest tourist hotspot, Burma is experiencing a surge in foreigners eager to visit places that were closed-off for decades. But the spike in tourists and growth of new industries are taking an environmental toll. Rapid development is straining an already damaged ecosystem in Burma’s scenic Inle Lake.

Inle Lake is considered a jewel of Burma, where migrating birds, rare animal species and a handful of Burmese tribes share space around the 110 square kilometer freshwater reservoir.

Now, a steady stream of foreign tourists is arriving. And, although that means big business for some, many locals say they are losing out.

Floating tomato gardens are the primary cash crop in this area, comprising more than 60 percent of the local agriculture.

Farmer Mee Intara says he welcomes foreign visitors, but not the increased traffic.

“The constant waves from the increase in motorboats are destroying my crops on the lake," said Intara.

Adding to the problem; diesel fuel from the boats, mixed with excessive amounts of pesticides already used by the farmers, are threatening drinking supplies.

Khin Moe Khao says his family and others living on the lake’s islands say they now must fetch clean water from elsewhere.

“The people who have motor boats can go to get drinking water easily, but some of the villagers only have row boats and cannot get to the water supply so they get sick from drinking dirty water," said Khao.

As unregulated development and business moves forward, local environmentalists are also worried about an even bigger potential environmental disaster - runoff from a coal mine.

Khun Chankhe, an environmentalist with the Pa-Oh Youth Organization, says that waste from an open pit coal mine, 13 kilometers away, is ending up in Inle Lake’s watershed, making matters worse.

“Most of the people in the villages rely on the upper Tigyit Creek use the water for their bathing and drinking and travel, so it is very dangerous for them because of the water pollution from the mining. This also affects Inle Lake," said Chankhe.

As tourism and development continue unabated, Burma’s second-largest freshwater lake - and the people that live on it - stand to lose much more.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid