The restoration of Sayram Lake in Xinjiang
URUMQI, July 4 (Xinhua) -- Reflections of white clouds and snow mountains can be seen in a beautiful lake. Mountain flowers dance by the lakeside. In northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Sayram Lake shines under the sun.
Sayram Lake is 2,000 meters above sea level and covers an area of about 458 square km. Over-herding once damaged the beautiful environment there. Around 2002, the soil within 500 meters of the lake went through severe desertification.
To prevent the situation exacerbating, local authorities banned herding. By 2011, herding had been banned in 25,667 hectares, with local herdsmen beginning to engage in tourism or other industries. Horse racing was also banned to stop damage to grass.
"After years of restoration, about 95 percent of the grassland here has been restored," said Zhang Jianjiang, an official with the lake's management bureau.
The herding ban also improved water quality. In the past, when it rained, waste from cows and sheep was washed into the lake, which tainted the water quality. Now, the levels of nitrogen and phosphorus have significantly decreased.
"Sayram Lake has returned to its original glory," Zhang said.