Tourists dumping on Tibetan lake

2nd August 2018

More concerns have been raised that China’s push to increase tourism in Tibet is damaging the environment

Video footage has emerged of tourists dumping rubbish at Chaka Salt Lake, in Wulan County north-eastern Tibet.

The lake is regarded as a site of natural beauty. Because of the way the sky reflects off the surface of the crystallised saline water it has been given the name ‘Mirror of the Sky’.

As a result of the recent influx of tourists, around 40,000 per day during peak season, the area’s pristine environment has been seriously degraded.

Footage uploaded by tourists, which has been shared widely online, shows the edge of the lake littered with waste, mostly discarded plastic shoes which are used by tourists to walk over salt-sand.

Currently, 200 cleaners are working at the site, collecting up to 12 tons of discarded rubbish per day.

Local authorities have claimed that they will strengthen enforcement against such behaviour in the future.

Through its state media outlets, the Chinese Communist Party regularly boasts of its efforts to protect Tibet’s environment. However, many Tibetans and Tibet groups have questioned these claims in light of ongoing economic development and mass tourism.

Despite these concerns, Chinese authorities have, in recent years, made a concerted efforts to increase tourism into Tibet.

Qinghai Chaka Salt Lake Cultural Tourism Development Company has reported an increase in the number of tourists to the area. The lake received 1.3 million tourists in 2015, 1.95 million in 2016 and 2.76 million in 2017.

Information supplied by Tibet Watch.

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