“Climate change and fresh water inflow have lowered or halted the spirulina production of inland lakes which are the natural wonders where blue green algae is harvested,” said Dr. May Yu Khaing, managing director of Yaykha Inn Spirulina Factory in Sagaing Region.
Conservation and blue green algae cultivation are carried out at Yaykha Inn Lake in Sagaing Region as the spirulina production rate of the lake is dwindling, according to the factory.
“Myanmar has four lakes that yield spirulina, and they all are in Sagaing Region. We all should preserve the lakes – Twindaung, Twinma, Taungpyauk and Yekha Inn–for their sustainability,” Dr. May Yu Khaing expressed her view.
As they are producing pure spirulina, they are valuable natural resources of the country. But, the lakes are facing the waste problem and environmental damage result-ing from the increasing number of visitors to the natural wonders and the shops to serve them, according to some locals.
Of the four lakes formed by volcanoes, (now extinct) Yaykha Inn alone is producing between 30 and 50 tons of spirulina per year. Sadly, only Twinma and Yaykha Inn lakes can yield spirulina at present, and the other two – Twindaung, the most famous of the four, and Taung- pyauk – can no longer produce the blue green algae. But the spirulina harvested from Yaykha Inn alone is enough for domestic consumption.
At Yaykha Inn lake, spirulina is harvested from the earth lakes where it is farmed and the harvesting season reaches its peak in summer every year. Spirulina yield depends on weather, but the production rate at the farms is stable.
As Yaykha Inn is located on a mountain range between Kyaukta and Yaykha villages, fresh water flows from the two empties into the lake. Moreover, a district-to-district road also is servicing as another source of fresh water for the lake. So, efforts are being made to stop the inflow of water into Yaykha Inn. Locals are also encouraged to fish tilapia that enters the lake.
As water quality cannot be controlled at Twindaung lake where a large volume of fresh water flows in annually, it can no longer yield spirulina now. Rain water is the other major source of freshwater inflow that has adverse impact on spirulina yield.
Production is normal at Twinma Lake. Spirulina species from Twin daung were introduced at the farms of Yaykha Inn in 2003. Spirulina-based medicines, personal goods and cosmetics are popular in the market. Foreign countries including the United States and South Korea are buying spirulina from Myanmar.
Spirulina is a tiny blue-green algae in the shape of a perfect spiral coil. Spirulina grows naturally in mineral-rich alkaline lakes which can be found on every continent, often near volcanoes. The largest concentrations of spirulina today can be found at Lake Texcoco in Mexico, around Lake Chad in Central Africa and along the Great Rift Valley in east Africa. Since its re-discovery in the 1960s, spirulina has been exhaustively and extensively tested by scientists around the world, and is found to be the most powerful and well-balanced source of nutrition available on the planet.
Zaw Myo (Myawady)