Camel and ship, Aral Sea.

Worst Ecological Disaster: Aral Sea

Facts about the Aral Sea

Aral Sea is situated in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in Central Asia. The climate is arid and the environment is dominated by steppe and desert. Naturally, the lake is feed by the rivers of Syr Darya and Amu Darya.

Once, Aral Sea was the fourth largest lake in the world with an area of around 68,000 square km. Today, the area is significantly reduced to about 10-20% of its original size. The triggering effect was a markedly reduction in the water supply from the rivers. The water supply from rain is very sparse.
Back in the 60’s, the Russians began a massive project aimed to cultivate the steppe areas in Central Asia mainly for cotton production.

Read also: The World’s Most Unusual Lakes

Shrinking of the Aral Sea

Due to the construction of big canals and lock systems the water supply to Aral Sea has been significantly reduced. Thus, the majority of the river water was used for irrigation.
The evaporation clearly exceeds the water supply. This induces an abrupt increase in the lake’s salt balance. The increasing salt level has a major impact on the flora and fauna. Huge salt depositions are accumulated which make Aral Sea one of the biggest salt lakes in the world.
On the lake flanks which previously were covered by water you now can find rusty ships (so-called ghost ships). These ghost ships are partly covered by sand dunes and salt deposits.

Read also: Salar de Uyuni – World’s Largest Salt Flat

Worst Ecological Disaster

Aral Sea is an classic example of a regional environmental disaster. Here are some interesting Aral Sea disaster facts. The Aral Sea disaster is indeed among the worst ecological disasters in the world. It proves that wrong political decisions might have a huge impact on natural ecosystems.
In addition to the natural consequences, the reduction of the lake’s water content also has a major influence on society. The locals who are living along the shores have fishery as their occupation. Therefore many jobs and a huge amount of money have been lost.

Red also: Gobi Desert – Land of Great Weather Extremes

Aral Sea Pictures

Aral Sea is an example of a regional environmental disaster
Stranded boats in the shrinking waters of Aral Sea.
Camels resting around a ship near Aral Sea
Camels resting around a ship near Aral Sea.

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