|An overview of Qiandao Lake in Chun'an County, East China's Zhejiang Province [CNSPHOTO/Yang Bo]|
Qiandao Lake is in Chun'an County, East China's Zhejiang Province. It is celebrated as the "most beautiful lake in the world," primarily due to its high water quality and surrounding scenery.
Mu Quan, who has a doctorate from Peking University, investigated the lake with an expert team from the World Bank in 2016. She quickly fell in love with the beautiful lake and decided to devote herself to protecting it.
|Mu Quan [For cnr.cn]|
During her investigation, Mu found that pesticides and fertilizers were being flushed into the lake and doing great harm to its water quality. However, farming and tea planting account for a substantial part of the local economy. So, Mu committed herself to find a "win-win" solution to ensure the lake is protected and residents' livelihoods remain unharmed.
Mu worked hard to raise funds and eventually founded the Qiandao Lake Water Fund. The initial capital of 10 million yuan ($1.44 million) was used to build an ecological rice field and tea garden in Chun'an County in 2018.
Using scientific farming methods, Mu helped the locals reduce the use of pesticides and fertilizers, and popularized the planting of cannas and calamus in the irrigation canals to decrease nitrogen and phosphorus levels in the water.
|The ecological rice field pilot project in Anyang Township, Chun'an County, East China's Zhejiang Province [cnr.cn/Wang Haipeng]|
In 2019, Mu's team grew with the addition of four new members, including Project Manager Guo Feifei, who graduated from Huazhong Agricultural University with a master's degree, and Brand Director Wang Xiaomeng, who was a travel program host. Zeng Xiran and Yin Huiqing also joined the crew, and they are responsible for promoting environmental education.
|The five-member woman team of the Qiandao Lake Water Fund [cnr.cn/Wang Haipeng]|
Through ceaseless efforts, the team has reduced the nitrogen and phosphorus levels in the fields and maintained tea quality, as well as increased incomes for tea farmers by 30-40 percent.
Apart from their work in the rice field and tea garden, the team has offered an environmental education course for local children. The program is intended to help educate the younger generation on the importance of ecological agriculture.
|Guo FeiFei (R) talks with a farmer in the ecological tea garden in Chun'an County, East China's Zhejiang Province. [For cnr.cn]|
Mu also set up an agricultural development company to promote agricultural products with a high added value that are produced following good environmental protection practices.
It is expected that the ecological rice field and tea garden can be expanded to 333 hectares this year and 5,000 hectares in 2024 in the Qiandao Lake range.
"In addition to the government, environmental protection needs all social parties to participate. We have done something ground-breaking here and we want to explore more new ways to ensure that clean and sweet water is available to all citizens," Mu said.
(Source: cnr.cn/Translated and edited by Women of China)
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