The major river tributaries to the Aral Sea, the Syr Darya, and the Amu Darya, were used for the creation of irrigation canals in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. This has literally been starving the Aral Sea for water. A dam was built in in Kazakhstan to help replenish and preserve the Aral Sea. It is contributing to a rise in water level and a drop in salt content, which is helping to increase the number of fish able to live in the Aral Sea again.
Its most recent desiccation began in the s due to the expansion of irrigation the caused the draining of its two tributary rivers. It is vital to repair and preserve what remains of the deltas and two tributary rivers, Syr Darya and Amu Darya, not only for their ecological and economic value but also for the health and well being of the populations in its vicinity.
Restoration to portions of lake has seen dramatic improvements and may provide a framework for minimizing trans boundary pollution issues. Amu Darya; Syr Darya; Aral Sea; Central Asia; irrigation; salinity; Karakalpakstan; pesticides; toxic dust; restoration Introduction The Aral Sea, an oasis in ancient times, lies between the Karakum and Kyzlkum deserts and is fed by water from high glaciers that flow into the two rivers, the Syr Darya and the Amu Darya, which enter the sea from the north and south, respectively.
Kazakstan, Kyrgystan, and Turkmenistan border the Aral Sea and in the south is the Karakalpakstan Republic whose people pop.
The shrinking of the Aral Sea in Central Asia is considered one the most dramatic examples of a natural area destroyed by human activities.
Its geography makes it an excellent study in issues of pollution without borders Whish-Wilson, p. At one time, almost half the flow of the Syr Darya and Amu Darya rivers reached the Aral Sea, by the s, during dry or average years, no river water reached the sea at all Whish-Wilson, p.
The overuse of pesticides for greater agricultural yield combined with the increased salinity resulting from the drying of the sea bed have led to serious human health and environmental issues around the region as well as intense toxic dust storms, the effects of which have been documented thousands of miles away.
This study relates evidence of the economic and health issues in the region of Karakalpakstan attributed to the desiccation of the Aral Sea and the overuse of pesticides related to agricultural productivity as well as the resultant toxic dust storms and their impacts to the region and beyond. In addition, restoration efforts will be discussed as a possible method of addressing trans boundary pollution issues in the future.
Background The Aral Kazak word for island Sea held over islands with countless lagoons and shallow straits. The vast river deltas played a vital role in fish breeding and a flourishing fishing industry exploited over twenty commercially valuable species.
A busy shipping trade connected the northern port of Aralsk to the river ports of the Amu Darya, some as far distant as Tajikstan Whish-Wilson, p. The sea is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north and Uzbekistan to the south.
Around the southern edge of the Aral Sea is the Karakalpakstan Republic, an autonomous republic incorporated into Uzbekistan. The people of Karakalpakstan are culturally and ethnically distinct from the rest of Uzbekistan and have borne much of the brunt of the ecological disaster Whish-Wilson, Soon after the creation of the Soviet Union, its leaders made plans to increase the production of cotton often referred to as white gold in Central Asia by expanding irrigation.
This led to massive irrigation projects in the Aral Sea Basin commencing in the s, accompanied by large-scale monocropping of cotton and reclamation of land from other agricultural pursuits. Kruschev continued the demand for increased cotton production and added the goal of Soviet self-sufficiency in rice, further ramping up the demand for irrigation water.
Aral Sea A satellite image of the Aral Sea in The black line imposed on the image represents the Aral Sea's approximate shoreline in The black line imposed on the image represents the Aral Sea's approximate shoreline in Most of the sea's water supply had been diverted, and in the s the Aral Sea began to shrink. From to , the Aral's sea level fell at an average of 20 cm a year; in the s, the average rate nearly tripled to 50–60 cm per year, and by the s it continued to drop, now with a mean of 80–90 cm each year. If the Aral Sea dries up completely, 15 billion tons of salt will be left behind. Muynak is km ( mi) north of Nukus. Travelers can take a taxi or a bus to reach Muynak from Nukus. There are options for private accommodations in Muynak where you can stay overnight.
The scale of the irrigation projects was enormous and little heed was paid to downstream requirements. In addition, the techniques used were inefficient with open waterways causing much waste and little regard was given to the need for proper drainage.
There was an average decline in water level during the s of 0. To increase cotton yields, large quantities of pesticides were used including the organochlorines dichlorodiphenyl-trichloroethans DDTshexachloro-cyclohexane compounds HCH, Lindaneand Toxaphene Whish-Wilson, p.The Aral Sea basin (area that is drained by the Aral Sea) includes Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Afghanistan.
The Aral Sea shirking has been referred to as the worst environmental disaster on earth, destroying the fishing industry, negatively affecting public health, the economy, and the way of life in the region.
The Aral Sea is situated in Central Asia, between the Southern part of Kazakhstan and Northern Uzbekistan. Up until the third quarter of the 20th century it was the world?s fourth largest saline lake, and contained 10grams of salt per liter. A massive irrigation project has devastated the Aral Sea over the past 50 years.
These images show the decline of the Southern Aral Sea in the past decade, as well . Aral Sea Introduction. The Aral Sea is located in the lowlands of Turan occupying land in the Republics of Kazakstan and Uzbekistan.
From ancient times it was known as an oasis. Traders, hunters, fishers, and merchants populated this fertile site littered with lagoons and . ARAL SEA The Aral Sea lies in central Asia and is shared by the republics of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
In the Aral covered 25, square miles (66, sq. km) and had a . A massive irrigation project has devastated the Aral Sea over the past 50 years.
These images show the decline of the Southern Aral Sea in the past decade, as well as the first steps of recovery in the Northern Aral Sea.