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May 21st 2019
Published: May 24th 2019
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Kunming, China (May 21, 2019) We spent the afternoon Tuesday in Kunming, first going to see Lake Dian - one the 8th largest lake in China which is on the southern edge of the city. While it has picturesque views and a nicely developed waterfront park, sadly pollution is a problem. Historically, Kunming had no water shortage, since the city was right next to one of Asia's biggest freshwater lakes. But 90 percent of Kunming's wastewater was pumped untreated into the lake until 1990. In addition, much of the marsh system around the lake was destroyed in a misguided effort to raise rice production by filling the marshes in with trucked-in soil, and agricultural runoff is still a problem, and over half the fish population has been killed off. The lake water is now undrinkable despite several billion dollars having been spent trying to clean it up. Some experts predict that over 55% of the lake's fish population has been killed off by this disease-ridden type of pollution. We spent the remainder of the afternoon at one of Kunming's markets exploring some of the local specialties and a few of us spent a good portion of it in a tea house for some entertaining learning about the subtleties of tea from one of the experts. This region of the country is particularly serious about their tea! The afternoon went by quickly and we had to get to the new Kunming Airport - a spectacular and enormous structure shaped like folded hands from the front and an eagle from the air - for the flight back to Chengdu

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