Beijing: About 20 natural lakes disappear every year in China due to climate change and expanding human habitation, according to a report.

China has about 24,000 natural lakes and they cover an area of 83,000 square km. They play an important role in maintaining ecological balance, controlling floods and reducing droughts, according to a declaration issued at the First China Forum on Lakes in Nanjing, the capital of east China's Jiangsu province.

However, China's lakes have been confronted with severe challenges due to climate change resulting from human activity, the declaration said.

"Every year, about 20 natural lakes dishearteningly disappear," the declaration said, noting that human activity has created serious consequences for the lakes.

"Water quality is deteriorating, sediment is accumulating, wetlands are shrinking in size and aquatic organisms are dying out. Consequently, the lakes' capacity for flood control and drought relief has been affected," reported.

The lakes will not be able to adapt themselves to the damage caused by human activity, it said.