Xinhua News Agency, Hohhot, September 25 – Reeds sway in the wind, water birds play and cruise, and the lake sparkles under the blue sky and white clouds. This is the picturesque scene of Wuliang Suhai in Inner Mongolia. Known as the “Pearl Beyond the Great Wall,” Wuliang Suhai has undergone a beautiful butterfly transformation in recent years.
Wuliang Suhai, located at the top of the “Bend” of the Yellow River, is the largest lake wetland in the Yellow River Basin. With important functions such as regulating water volume, purifying water quality, and preventing ice and floods, it is a crucial intersection area for multiple ecological functions in northern China. Additionally, the Hetao Irrigation Area in the hinterland of the Wuliangsuhai Basin is one of the three major irrigation areas in the country and plays a key role in ensuring national food security.
However, for many years, Wuliangsuhai has faced severe ecological degradation. Industrial and agricultural drainage, as well as reduced natural water supply, led to a decline in the lake’s ecological functions and water quality. In fact, the water quality deteriorated to worse than Category 5, causing some people to move away due to the unpleasant odors.
In recent years, Inner Mongolia has stepped up efforts to revive Wuliangsuhai. By implementing comprehensive measures, such as building sewage treatment plants, promoting water-fertilizer integration technology, and strictly controlling the use of chemicals, the local government aims to curb pollution from the source and protect the ecosystem.
Under the guidance of systematic governance thinking, a pilot project for ecological protection and restoration of Wuliangsuhai Basin was launched in 2018. Major initiatives include comprehensive desert management, mine geological environment improvement, soil and water conservation, and lake water environment protection and restoration. These efforts have proven successful, with the completion of various restoration projects and the stabilization of water quality at Category V, or even better in some areas.
The improvement in the ecological environment has not gone unnoticed by migratory birds. With the recovery of ecological functions, swan geese, which had left due to deteriorating water quality, are now returning to Wuliangsuhai. The number of migratory and breeding bird species has increased to over 260, making it an important habitat for them.
Today, Wuliangsuhai has become a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors from around the world. The clear water and beautiful surroundings provide a unique experience for tourists. Excitedly, locals are also embracing the transformation, with one villager expressing their desire to retire in this rejuvenated paradise.
The success of the Wuliangsuhai restoration project reflects Inner Mongolia’s determination and perseverance in protecting and managing this natural gem. However, authorities recognize that the management of the lake is an ongoing process. They are committed to continuing their efforts to improve the ecological trend of Wuliangsuhai, creating a bluer sky, cleaner water, and a thriving ecosystem for everyone to enjoy.
As Bao Wei, director of Wuliangsuhai Ecological Protection Center, aptly said, “The management of the lake is a long-term process. We must continue to take good care of it and protect this ‘Pearl Beyond the Great Wall’ so that its ecological beauty can flourish for generations to come.”