the very beginning of its existence, the human being has been developing. It has never stopped, and it never
will. During the last couple of
centuries it has been developing very aggressively, and it has reached
tremendous achievements in all fields.
Unfortunately mankind has achieved tremendous success in polluting its
environment also. Nowadays, nature is
missing many of its inhabitants: – those who are supposed to be under the
protection of humans as young brothers and sisters. Pollution was the reason
for their extinction. Finally, the humanity started paying more attention to
what surrounds it. It started thinking
about the future, its future generations, and the inheritance to these
generations. People have started
asking themselves more often questions like, “What will we have left to other
children after us?” Currently, humanity
has plenty of global environmental problems that it has to take care of
now. Tomorrow will be too late. Some of these global environmental problems
are global warming, deforestation, freshwater contamination, destruction of
ozone layer of the earth, pollution of space orbit of the earth by parts of
used equipment. Desiccation of the Aral
Sea is one of the items on the list.
Aral Sea, which is also considered to be a lake or Inland Sea in Central Asia,
is located in southwestern Kazakstan and northwestern Uzbekistan, near the
Caspian Sea. The Aral has no
outlet. The Aral Sea is still listed as
the fourth largest lake in the world.
But it has been shrinking for decades, and the statistics might
change. In time the Aral Sea may not
the fourth largest lake in the world anymore.
two major problems have risen before the governments of Uzbekistan and
Kazakstan; the desiccation and as a result of this threat of the complete
disappearance of the sea, and the danger of the broad extension of anthrax
bacteria that was stored by the Soviet Army Vozrozdenia Island.
comparison with the size of the sea in the 1960’s, the Sea has declined in size
by seventy-six percent. The initial
reason for the Aral’s decline is the fact that Soviet planners diverted water
from Aral’s two big feeding rivers (Amu Darya and Syr Darya) into cotton fields
in the territory of Uzbekistan. Because of this irrigation, the sea is now
seventy miles away from its former bank (in some places even more). Ninety percent of the Syr Daya’s water is
diverted into canals and reservoirs.
Millions of people in Central Asia rely on the rivers for a
livelihood. Uzbekistan, for instance,
generates twenty-eight percent of its hard currency from cotton irrigated with
river water (The Aral Sea, http:///visearth.ucsd.edu/VisE_Int/aralsea/).
the irrigation system, the Soviet planners were only after high rates of cotton
harvests. Unwise use of water has led
to the current state of the Aral Sea.
The salt content of the Sea’s waters increased by about threefold,
adversely affecting plant and animal life and causing the fishing industry to
disappearance of the sea as a part of the ecosystem is just one problem that is
followed by hundreds of subsequent problems.
One of them has already risen: The drying of the sea has left behind
three million hectares of desiccated seabed, covered with accumulated salts
which the wind carries away and deposits over thousands of square kilometers of
arable land turning the land into dead ones.
One can see white ridges amid the soil in the field. Salty dust from the dried out land blows in
squalls through the area, causing discomfort and respiratory problems. Wind brings more than a hundred tons of
salty dust per square mile on the region every year. As a result of this, trees do not bear fruit any more.
Aral Sea’s desiccation has an influence on everything that is around it. The climate in the region has changed
significantly; the winters are even colder, summers are even hotter.
sea was not only the water supply for the population, but it was the source of
their income. A large part of the
population was involved in fishing and resort industries. Now, that the Sea is far away, these
businesses are no longer available, and that leads to deterioration of the
financial situation of the people in the area.
city of Muynak, the three hundred-vessel fleet once employed a thousand
fishermen. It is now a collection of
rusting hulls half-buried amid the dunes on the edge of town. Yet the sixty-year-old canning factory still
clatters, all steam and stench, although its seven hundred workers handle fish
brought by lorry from the lakes around Tashkent, one thousand miles away”
(Reeves, The Sea Sickness).
sea has turned from a rich fishing ground to a prairie of poison dust. Desiccation has a great deal of influence on
the population’s health; the change in environment has significantly increased
rates of birth defects, infant mortality, cancers, malnutrition, respiratory
diseases, and the anemia suffered by almost all women of child-bearing age.
Malnutrition has risen sharply; fish is no longer a part of the people’s daily diet. Another side effect imposed on the
population is a dramatically increased rate of tuberculosis in the area.
of the causes of health deterioration is that over three decades the water
could not or barely could make it to the Aral Sea. The Aral’s water contains a lot of pesticides. The pesticides sank to the bottom of the
lake. As the lake dried up, this layer
of pesticide became exposed to the wind, which blows it away on the other
partial solution for the problem is to build a dam to keep water from flowing
into the larger, southern portion.
Plans call for the structure’s base to be 150 yards wide. If money is found for the construction, the
water level of the northern sea will rise to the same level it was in
1960’s. As a result of the
construction, salination of the sea will decrease. This fact might contribute to restoration of fishing and resort
the population of this region, the dam is a rare ray of hope. If the dam holds
on the small sea, a microclimate will be restored there. The health of people will improve and it
will be good for the economy.
by the Kazak Academy of Science in Almaty, the country’s main commercial city,
suggest the entire sea might disappear by 2010 without the dam. Currently the northern Sea is one-sixth as
large as the southern portion. If the
surface area is reduced, less water will evaporate. The full damage caused
cannot be repaired, but it can be stopped from going any further.
second threat to the Aral Sea and its inhabitants is anthrax bacteria stored
1988 by the Soviet Army. The Army was
trying to get rid of its germ weapons and stored the bacteria on one of the
Aral’s islands. Soldiers dug large pits
and poured a mixture of anthrax bacteria and bleach. The bleach was supposed to kill the bacteria, but it did
not. Even with the passage of time, the
bacteria stay alive.
the Sea is drying out and this island can become a part of land. This fact carries the threat that anthrax
bacteria can be exposed to atmosphere one day, and it will become a very
serious danger to both countries.
this time, both governments in cooperation with the United States are
undertaking actions in order to prevent the extension of the bacteria.
the two last centuries many of Earth’s inhabitants became extinct as a result
of environmental pollution. It is time
to stop it; otherwise the next extinct inhabitant might turn out to be humanity
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Refill their Lost Sea; Draining the Aral Destroyed a Way of Life.” Newspaper Publishing PLC, London: The
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Hugles. “Scientists Fight to Save the Aral Sea: Desappearing Lake Waters Leave
Disease, Poverty in Wake.” Southan
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Splitting Kazakhstan’s Aral Dims Hopes for Its Salvation.” The Washington Post, November 1, 1998.
Features and Water Issues: Aral Sea.
Response to the Aral Sea Problem
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