- By Tin Win Lay
These days, there is no reason why I was humming softly to myself: a song on a university girl student by Ko Min Naung. The proximity of the Yangon University to the Inya Lake has created a famous location for romance and coming to my mind the first days of student life in the University.
But Yangon Region Hluttaw Representative Daw Khine Mar Htay from Hlaing Constituency No. 2 raised a query about the maintenance of Inya Lake: “ Are there any plans of maintaining the original state of preservation for the Inya Lake not only for the Yangonites but for foreign tourists?” Again on 5 May, Mayangon Constituency No.1 Hluttaw Representative U Yan Shin also raised some questions about hundreds of rat holes and leftover foods thrown into the Lake on the east side facing the Myanmar Plaza.
There are two famous lakes in Yangon: the Kandawgyi and the Inya Lakes, with latter roughly five times larger than the former. With long historical backgrounds of the two lakes, only the Inya Lake has created a lot of love stories among the university students due to its proximity to the University Campus.
During the heyday of the University of Yangon, there was a little bit of maintenance of the lake. Walking on the lanes on the bank, students used to be at a popular rendezvous at the roadside shops where fried fruit and vegetables were available. Now these places have become an area of scenic beauty: shady trees with beautiful red flowers have grown on both sides of the bank for holidaymakers. From dawn till dusk, more and more restaurants and shops have sprouted in recent years to sell food and drinks.
Beautification of the Lake
Yangon Major U Maung Maung Soe responded to the queries that arrangements and plans are being carried out for beautification and upgrading of the lake for the Yangonites as well as for foreign tourists. For beautification purposes, rubbish are being salvaged from the lake daily; silt has been removed with the help of suction pumps; and floodgates are put in places to control the level of the water in the lake. Silt has been salvaged from the inlet pipes of Kokkine and Inya Myaing to raise the level of water up to 47’to 48’ by installation of 12 floodgates. For strength and cleanliness of the lake bank on the side of the Pyay Road, big concrete slabs were put in place for the length of 2350 pieces and 2015, silt-sieve pool and 170-foot long embankment of polluted water were also constructed.
Keeping Inya waters cleanIn 2017, some experts from the Irrigation and Water Management Department investigated the strength of the bank on the side of Pyay Road. In order to the waters clean, nearby polluted water, rubbish and dirty water from restaurants have been purified or channeled into the drains beside the Inya Road at the back of the Convocation Hall. On the side of Yangon Sailing Club, the letout of polluted water through the floodgate is released 10 feet above the surface of the water. In the same way, polluted water from the restaurants of Myakyuntha side is released in the same manner, keeping the water in the lake purified and clean.
Upon the scenic beauty of the Lake, an officer-in-charge U Zaw Win Htun said: On the Pyay Road, the Inya Lake is connected with townships of Kamayut and Hlaing with the White Bridge in the middle. When asked about hundreds of rat holes, he pointed out at the reckless behavior of holidaymakers; they throw away leftover foods without taking anything into consideration. He continued to point out these animals live on these foods by making holes in the ground. These holes have been filled with sand, broken bricks and mud on a daily basis. The owners of restaurants are strongly urged not to let the polluted water flow into the Lake; systematic collections of rubbish are closely watched; collected rain water should be released through the drains into the White Bridge creek.
Those who walk on the bank for relaxation are reminded to throw the rubbish into the dustbins; 108 trashcans are already put in place on the Pyay Road side with 111 garbage cans on the side of Kaba Aye Road.
These dustbins are cleaned by a workforce of 60 employees on a daily basis. The bank on the side of Pyay Road is long but beautiful with a park on Inya Road meticulously planned for beautification. Even if there are no fences or barriers near the Lake, the path on the bank is hugely popular for walkers under the shady trees in the morning.
Security for walkers
For the security of those who spend a few hours of relaxation, installation of 34 CCTV are already carried out on the Pyay side and with 39 CCTV on the Kaba Aye side. The idea is to record all events and accidents occurred near the lake and it is as well meant to make the images of the lake better. Park benches were built on the bank by some business companies; some benches are removed to make ways for fun seekers. Arrangements are urgently made not only for Yangonites but for pleasure-seeking foreign tourists as well. The passage ways to the bank and restaurants are meticulously paved under the shady trees.
Reckless throwing of rubbish
Billboards with notices are erected near the lake to abide by walkers as well as fun seekers. These people are believed to have thrown rubbish recklessly, making a lot of rat holes in the grass on the ground. If foreign tourists happen to find these holes, we may get shy and embarrassed. Eradication of these rodents is being supervised with the help of Animals and Slaughterhouse Department, according to U Zaw Lin Htun. More than three hundred thousand rats were eliminated in 2016 and more than that number in 2017, according to an official.
The Inya Lake is 1800 feet long on the Pyay Road side and can hold 4 trillion gallons of water according to an expert. It would be of great concern to local people if the strength of the bank becomes weakened by rat holes in the grass on the ground. As the lake has been a symbol of historic and natural beauty of Yangon, the maintenance of the Lake should be carried out by active cooperation and participation of people from all walks of life.
Translated by Arakan Sein