Lake scenery at Wuxi
|Basin countries||People's Republic of China|
|Surface area||2,250 km2 (870 sq mi)|
|Average depth||2 m (6.6 ft)|
|Settlements||Huzhou, Suzhou, Wuxi|
Lake Tai, or Tai Lake (Chinese: 太湖; pinyin: Tài Hú; literally "Grand Lake") or Lake Taihu, is a large lake in the Yangtze Delta plain, on the border of Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces in Eastern China. The waters of the lake belong to the former in its entirety with part of its southern shore forming the boundary between the two provinces. With an area of 2,250 km² and an average depth of 2 metres, it is the third largest freshwater lake in China, after Lake Poyang and Lake Dongting. The lake houses about 90 islands, ranging in size from a few square meters to several square miles.
Lake Tai is linked to the renowned Grand Canal and is the origin of a number of rivers, including Suzhou Creek. In recent years, Lake Tai has been plagued by pollution as a result of rapid economic growth in the surrounding region.
Scientific studies suggest that Lake Tai's circular structure is the result of a meteor impact based on the discovery of shatter cones, shock metamorphosed quartz, microtektites, and shock metamorphic unloading fractures. Recent science has dated the possible impact crater to be greater than 70 million years old and possibly from the Late Devonian Period. Fossils indicate that Lake Tai was dry land until the ingression of the East China Sea during the Holocene epoch. The growing deltas of the Yangtze and Qiantang rivers eventually sealed off Lake Tai from the sea, and the influx of fresh water from rivers and rains turned Lake Tai into a freshwater lake.
Scenic locations 
The lake is renowned for its unique limestone formations. These Chinese scholar's rocks are often prized as a decorating material for the traditional Chinese garden, especially in areas such as Suzhou.
According to many guidebooks,[which?] Lake Tai is best seen from the scenic viewpoint in Xihui Park (錫惠公園) in the west of Wuxi (無錫), from the top of Dragon Light Pagoda (龍光塔 Lóng Guāng Tǎ), from which both Wuxi and Lake Tai are visible. Another well-known panoramic view is from Longshan (Mt Long), where the famous ancient poet Su Shi (1037–1101) once wrote a poem.
One of the best locations to view the lake is Xihui Park in the west of Wuxi. By climbing the summit of Dragon Light Pagoda (Longguang Pagoda) inside the park, you will get a bird's eye view of the city and the lake. Mei Yuan is also located in Lake Tai.
Yuantouzhu (Turtle Head Isle) is another prominent region for tourists. It received this title because its outline resembles a turtle head. The region gained its fame in the early 20th century and it contains more than ten scenic sites for visit.
Business and industry 
The lake is also known for its productive fishing industry, and is often occupied by fleets of small private fishing boats. Since the late 1970s, harvesting seafood products such as fish and crabs has been invaluable to people living along the lake and has contributed significantly to the economy of the surrounding area.
The Lake is home a ceramic production industry that is very extensive. Also the lake is home to the Ishing pottery factory which makes tea pots of world renown.
Ferris wheel 
Star of Lake Tai is a 115-metre (377 ft) tall giant Ferris wheel on the shoreline of the lake. Completed in 2008, it takes 18 minutes to complete one revolution. Passengers can enjoy the scenery of Lake Tai and the city center. At night, lighting effects are switched on around the wheel.
Pollution of the lake has been ongoing for decades despite efforts to reduce pollution that were not sustained and thus proved ineffective. In the 1980s and 1990s the number of industries in the lake region has tripled, while the population also increased significantly. One billion tons of wastewater, 450,000 tons of garbage and 880,000 tons of animal waste were dumped in the shallow lake in 1993 alone. The central government intervened and initiated a campaign to clean up the lake, setting a deadline to comply with pollution standards. When the deadline was not met, 128 factories were closed on New Year's Eve in 1999. Compliance improved somewhat afterwards, but the pollution problem remained severe. In May 2007, the lake was overtaken by a major algae bloom and by major pollution with cyanobacteria. The Chinese government called the lake a major natural disaster despite the anthropogenic origin of this environmental catastrophe. With the average price of bottled water rising to six times the normal rate, the government banned all regional water providers from implementing price hikes. The lake provides water to 30 million residents, including about one million in Wuxi. By October 2007 it was reported that the Chinese government had shut down or given notice to over 1,300 factories around the lake. However, Wu Lihong, one of the leading environmentalists who had been publicizing the pollution of the lake, was sentenced to three years in prison for alleged extortion of one of the polluters, but, undeterred, alleged in 2010 that not a single factory was closed. Jiangsu province planned to clean up the lake, and chaired by Wen Jiabao the State Council set a target to clean Lake Tai by 2012. However, in 2010 The Economist reported that a fresh pollution outbreak had occurred, and that Wu, released from prison in April, was claiming that the government was trying to suppress news of it, all the while switching to other supplies in place of lake water.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Lake Tai|
- "太湖" [Lake Tai]. The Suzhou Science Window [苏州科普之窗] (in Chinese). Science and Technology Association of Suzhou City [苏州市科学技术协会].
- Wang Erkang; Wan Yuqiu; Xu Shijin (May 2002). "Discovery and implication of shock metamorphic unloading microfractures in Devonian bedrock of Taihu Lake". Science in China Series D: Earth Sciences 45 (5).
- Wang, K.; Geldsetzer, H. H. J. (1992). "A late Devonian impact event and its association with a possible extinction event on Eastern Gondwana". Lunar and Planetary Inst., International Conference on Large Meteorite Impacts and Planetary Evolution: 77. Bibcode:1992lmip.conf...77W.
- Barrett, Rick (February 3, 2007). "China offers open waters". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- "“太湖之星”摩天轮即将开放". Xinhuanet (in Chinese). September 1, 2008. Retrieved January 15, 2013. Unknown parameter
- Ma, Jun (2004). China's Water Crisis. Norwalk, CT: International Rivers Network. pp. 163–164. ISBN 1-891936-28-X.
- Kahn, Joseph (October 13, 2007). "In China, a Lake’s Champion Imperils Himself". International Herald Tribune.
- "Algae smother Chinese lake, millions panic". MSNBC. AP. May 31, 2007.
- "China's third-largest freshwater lake faces algae threat". China Daily. Xinhua. April 14, 2008. Retrieved April 20, 2008.
- "Umweltschützer in China - Der unbeugsame Herr Wu". Tagesschau (in German). May 18, 2010.[dead link]
- "China to clean up polluted lake". BBC News. October 27, 2007.
- "Taihu cleanup plan". China Daily - Across China: Beijing. April 4, 2008. p. 4. Retrieved April 20, 2008.
- The Economist, 7 August 2010 p 49.