Kanam Village: Ecological Culture Village

By: China Tibet News
Updated: Nov. 01, 2019

Photo shows three horses eating grass at the Kanam Lake.
Kanam Village is only 17 kilometers away from Bomi County, Nyingchi City of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region. Located at an altitude of 2,700 meters alongside the No. 318 National Highway, the village is enriched with tourism resources, such as Bomi Peach Blossom Valley -- the world's largest one and the ruins of Kanam Kindom. In October 2010, it was dubbed as the "National Ecological Culture Village" by China Ecological Culture Association. In March 2013, it was honored as the "Regional Ecological Village" by the Department of Environmental Protection of Tibet Autonomous Region. Bodoi Tsangpo River and Parlun Zangbo River all run through Kanam Village, forming the Kanam national wetland park. 
An idyllic poem: green mountains, clear lake water, herds of cows and horses
In the early October, chill wind is blowing here. However, its scenery is enchanting, which boasts high mountains, lakes, forests and grasslands. 
Kanam Lake, covering an area of two square kilometers, is an important part of the Kanam national wetland park. This lake is on the south of Kanam Village. In the late autumn, the grasses are growing yellow; the fat fish are jumping out of water on the shoal; the overripe wild peaches become delicious food for Tibetan pigs; with the sound of "dingling dingling", horses are eating grass at the lake; the colorful house roofs are partly hidden and partly visible among trees; clouds, like ribbons, separate the snow-capped mountains and forests... This picturesque scenery is like an idyllic poem.
Having a history of over 600 years, the ruins of mysterious Kanam Kindom is separated with Kanam Lake by the highway. In 2016, with an investment of eight million yuan RMB from a tourism company and two million yuan RMB of share value from local villagers, the museum of "Kanam Palace" was built. There are also hotels and public toilets in the scenic spots. The village's cooperative has already earned 80,000 yuan RMB for two years. The villagers, also shareholders, get a dividend.
Photo shows Tsering Sonam, secretary of the Kanam Village Branch of the Communist Party of China (CPC), introducing the village's conditions.
Villagers devote themselves to environmental protection
In 1996, Tsering Sonam was selected as secretary of the Kanam Village Branch of the Communist Party of China (CPC). At that time, there were only a few trees in the village. Every year, local residents would join the tree-planting activity along the Bodoi Tsangpo River and Parlun Zangbo River. Each household needed to plant 10 to 15 trees annually. "In 1996, the village didn't have access to tap water. The water for living was carried by people from the Bodoi Tsangpo River. When arriving home, they usually found only half bucket of water was left," said Tsering Sonam.
Over the past 20-odd years, tree-planting activity had been held in the village annually since Tsering Sonam served as secretary of the village's Party branch. As the environmental protection is strengthened, local residents' awareness of environmental conservation is enhancing. In 2013, the position of environment supervisor was set in the village. Now, there are seven environment supervision teams, each with 10 to 12 members. A total of over 70 villagers are environment supervisors. From 9:30 am to 6:30 pm every day, five of them pick up trash near the village and along the No. 318 National Highway.
The village doesn't have the clean environment without every villager's self-discipline. In the past, the locals didn't have the concept of garbage recycling, and they usually disposed them in the traditional way. In 2016, more than 10 garbage bins were put in Kanam Village. Two garbage pools were built. Since then, the local residents throw trash in the garbage bins firstly, and the trash will be dumped in the garbage pools. After four or five days, the garbage truck will be called to collect the trash from the pools. "Sometimes, only after two or three days, the garbage truck will come. However, those trashes are not all dumped by villagers. On weekends, more than 60 cars pass through the village every day. They come here for 'Lingka' which refers to a grassy, tree-lined piece of land, which will generate some trashes," said Zhang Yunchen, first secretary of Kanam Village.
In addition to villagers' self-discipline, "local villagers should protect the environment" is also added in village rules. Each villager becomes environmental protector and does work related to environmental conservation.
56-year-old Sonam Rinchen is one of Kanam Village's forest rangers. There are six members in his family. He and his wife are in poor health. His daughter has already got married. Two other children go to school outside Tibet. One of his four children stays at home and looks after them. For his realities, in 2016, Sonam Rinchen began to serve as the village's forest ranger.
Photo shows the stunning scenery surround Kanam Lake.
Kanam Village's environmental protectors
Over the past three years, Sonam Rinchen walks into the forest every day and defends the area against illegal logging, smoking and dumping. He usually tells tourists that they shall take away the trash, and not take the fire to the mountain.
"I grow up here and witness the significant changes the village has undergone. Now, the village has access to tap water, electricity and roads. The local environmental is becoming better. I, a forest ranger, can earn 3,500 yuan RMB annually. My son now is learning how to use excavator. He also can get a monthly salary of 3,500 yuan RMB. Last year, the government gave us 50,000 yuan RMB for building new house. We really appreciate it. I will work harder to protect this forest," said Sonam Rinchen.
There are many forest rangers like Sonam Rinchen in the village. According to Zhang Yunchen, 102 villagers have got the ecological working posts, including rural road maintenance position, forest ecological working position and grassland supervision position. They all focus on the local environment.
Now, the area has entered the key period of forest fire prevention. Sonam Rinchen and his colleagues, protectors of Kanam Village's ecological environment, patrol in the forest every day.