21 The Aral Sea Is Dying

The Aral Sea Is Dying

Posted on June 8, 2012 by team


The Aral Sea is an endorheic saline lake in Central Asia located between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Since the 1960s its level and its amount of water are promptly decreasing due to drawing of water from main feeding rivers – the Amu Darya and the Syr Darya. Before the shallowing the Aral Sea was the fourth biggest lake in the world.

By today the drying Aral Sea has moved 100 km away from its former coastline near Muinak, Uzbekistan.

Along centuries it repeatedly happened that the riverbed of the Amu Darya moved aside from the Aral Sea (to the Caspian Sea) what made the Aral Sea size smaller. However it always gained its big size back. Today the considerable part of water from both rivers is spent for irrigation of rice and cotton fields what results in drastic reduction of water coming back to their deltas and consequently to the Aral Sea itself.
Worsening of the sea condition was kept secret in the USSR for dozens of years till 1985 when M. Gorbachev eventually made the ecological catastrophe public known. In the end of the 1980s the water level dropped so much that the sea divided into two parts: Northern Small Aral and Southern Big Aral.

By 2007 in the southern part there formed a deep western and a shallow eastern basins, also remains of a little separate firth. Big Aral decreased from 708 to 75 km3 only and the water salinity raised from 14 to 100 g/l. With the collapse of the USSR in 1991 the Aral Sea turned to be divided between the newly formed states: Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

The drying of the Aral Sea had terrible aftermath. Due to the drastic drop of the rivers flow stopped the spring floods providing the Amur Darya and the Syr Darya with fresh water and fertile sediments. Number of fish inhabiting the sea dropped from 32 to 6 due to high salinity of the water, loss of spawning ground and feeding areas.

In 1960 fish capture reached 40 thousand tons but by the mid of the 1980s capture fishing just ceased to exist and consequently 60 thousand of working positions were lost.

Navigation also stopped because the water moved many kilometres away from the main local ports.

There are hundreds of ship skeletons on the coastline.

The Aral Sea is impossible to restore. The only way out that would let make the situation better is to stop irrigation of the fields that demands 92% of the withdrawal. However 4 of 5 republics near the basin of the Aral Sea intend to only increase irrigation of the farmlands to feed the growing population.

Other large basins of the world trace the sad destiny of the Aral Sea:  for example Chad lake in Central Africa or Salton Sea in the south of an American state California.

Location: the Aral Sea

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21 Responses to “The Aral Sea Is Dying”

  1. Rafe says:

    Why are humans destroying the nature? Why cant we live in peace and harmony? Humans must be the most negative force of the entire universe and their general is money…

  2. CombatPotato says:

    Look worst. UN why you do nothing

    • Momo says:

      Maybe they’ll do something when they’ll find oil there

    • Anton says:

      Are you joking? UN (which is a criminal, highly illegal and completely unacountable organisation with blood on their hands) is way too busy launching illegal wars in Syria and Iran and fulfilling other Globalist agendas and they simply couldn’t give a $hit if there’s a real catastrophe happening somewhere in the world.

    • corey says:

      the UN is an organisation that can really only make recommendations and is not designed to fund and manage an independent countries long term infrastructure needs. and it is not a bloody world government they should really fix there own damn problem (or russia) it’s a very achievable fix. but true the UN should take a better interest, i guess they would if other issues such as Syria weren’t blocking the issue and maybe it wouldn’t be blocking if some countries weren’t blocking that up (cough… china, Russia)

  3. (r)evolutionist says:

    Undoubtedly greedy, amoral capitalists will sell lakefront property to greedy, ignorant bourgeois foreigners.

  4. Fred Johnson says:

    Insanity. I thought this died out long ago. Thanks to stalin!

    But the Salton Sea doesn’t really compare here, because it’s artificial anyway. It was accidentally flooded. But now it’s just a disaster.

    Rafe, they did this, because they didn’t realize what would happen if they did it. Plus, stalin, and his arrogance, and the “power mad” structure of the communist system, made them feel they could do anything and not suffer any of the consequences of doing so. There are MANY ecological disasters because of the communist system (bad government).
    They have since found out, that is a bad thing. Late, but better than never. China has a lot of this sort of thing too.
    The USA by contrast, doesn’t have a lot, or is cleaning up, because our system of government is run “by the people”. Plus, there’s forced change by the voting system (or people can be voted back in, but if they’re bad, they’re voted out). Unlike the communist dictator system, where they stayed as long as possible, allowing them to get away with much more.

    Just more reasons why, big government, communist, marxist, systems just don’t work.

    • turist says:

      Stalin didn’t do it. Draining of the Aral Sea started back in the 1860s when the United States stopped cotton production during the American Civil War. Russia and its protectorates picked up production of the thirsty crop and started diverting water to feed the burgeoning industry. It just never ended. Uzbekistan is still one of the largest cotton producers in the world.

      And if you think big government and environment are a bad combination, try private industry and environment. Just look at the number of Superfund Sites in the United States- all created by private industry and, admittedly, the military. And what’s in charge of cleaning them up? A governmental agency, not the private sector (other than those companies that are being/were fined). Is it a perfect system? Absolutely not. Better than nothing? Yes.

      • corey says:

        give me a break your talking about small scale cotton production which yes would have taken something like .5% of the water and comparing to huge Stalin flood irrigation project taking 90% of the water. without that idiot Stalin and a classic example of Russian engineering we’d have a smaller but still reasonably sized sea

  5. Mercal says:

    The ocean is not dried up fish there – good grief.

    People act like the sky is falling, go to the ocean and fish.

    Problem solved – German engineering.

    Mercal

  6. Mercal says:

    Man cannot make this dry up, Man cannot make the ocean dry up.

  7. Barrie says:

    There just too many people in the world. those in power with shares in company’s, use people as a commodity. More People more profit for power rich. More people less I have to pay the working class, more profit for me. More people bigger demand on resource, bigger profit for those in power. Whenever there is a disaster the only people to profit is those in power who get paid to rebuild with money given to them from banks, which comes out of our pockets. The rich get richer the poor get poorer.

    • Mercal says:

      Bla bla bla…

      Rich people create jobs – poor people complain and sit on their arse and do nothing but moan and groan.

  8. A.Oscar says:

    From the Enigma Global! By A.Oscar: to give some attention of such issues. I knew for long time about Aral Sea: also about Lake Baikal; one salted and the other fresh water. Seems like not to try making anybody understand: about those issues, which even rivers, also happened the same way. Evolutions always will be in the Universe: on Earth we have two, one by men and the other by Nature, which in same case with human help too. One of the bigger problem: when humans looking for wealth, just keep the mind of making money, nothing else more. Some have had take many years to reach the extremes of be irreversible, and now cry baby. Nothing could be done anymore. I believe to do with environment I blame Russia, USA, and China, the worse countries that take the Earth on the brink of “irreversible” a collapse of Global ecosystem. And I warning the worse will come, and more sooner than anybody ever thought about it. Even more fast if any major nuclear war would come: that will be for sure a catastrophe that nobody has thought about it. I have research for over thirty years such issues, and only make me wonder why Scientists do not know the real factor of a major Earth transformation like real happened a few thousand of years at the past. I have research about erosions, from wind and sea, or Oceans, it is amazing the way the Earth have had on evolutions. I believe the reason the Earth having more UFO apparitions, because human beings are not that smart the way we all thought about it, and Aliens there may was here before, and own technology are further advance then Terrestrial a few thousand of years. Human beings have a mentality towards bad habits: inclusive even wars among themselves, even so I do believe in most countries, having some kind of experts, knowing humans for the wealth, going to wars and religions, to the point knowing going to die for that purpose. Existing 20.000 of Nukes a few hydrogen bombs, superior maybe ten times more than Nukes. Enough weapons of mass destruction to change the total configuration of the Earth, inclusive once more the position change of all liquids, such Oceans to a deferent spot’s. Why humans are so stupid; just because fantasizing themselves too much, even men want to be women and vice-verse. Human Mind are total confused of what want and do not want. I believe the Aliens may worry more than Terrestrials about the anger are now on Earth, which could not only change the configuration of the Earth, and could affect the solar system too. I would ask everybody any were in the world that: before August, I will write a such article, which humans going to wondering such reality and why we all living species are in such danger because it is irreversible now, even so with a technology in such advanced. 10/6/2012 By A.Oscar

  9. stolichnaya says:

    If so much salt in Aral Sea, then why not add black pepper and some white flour to make world’s largest GRAVY!!!

    You know what old babushka always tell me, when life gives you, uh, stuff — then why not make gravy!

  10. Denis says:

    I was at Small Aral Sea in Kazakhstan sector last year. It is filled again after construction of Kokaral dam. Water is fresh and lots of fish! Probably one of my best fishing adventures. But it is not as big as before but still it is full of fish. Also I drove through the Aralkum desert (former bottom of the Aral sea). Cosmic places. Dream to go there again.

  11. todd says:

    There is another anti person comment Barrie maybe to many of you.Humans did not do this get a life.

  12. Barrie says:

    Please see http://tinyurl.com/ckwmop7 and http://tinyurl.com/crmcdj7 two of many proving this is man made.

    Undeniable facts, man has brought about this disaster.

    Maybe I am anti person. If it will stop persons destroying this world then yes I am, and proud of it. I have never thought of myself in that way. I am anti greed and corruption when others suffer, I would call myself a humanist. Russia is a wonderful country with vast tracts of untouched natural land, it will not remain so if commerce and industry is allowed to go ahead by unrestricted, by population expansion. Greed and self centred need to make more money. Having shares in company’s that produce goods, I am as guilty as the next, but it doesn’t make it right.

  13. 1WO says:

    Earth is about 5BILLION years old and there has been about seven ice ages so I guess mankind was responsible for them too!? Just 1 volcano gives of more green house gases than humans do!!!! Global warming/global change is not manmade its nature, earth has Never stayed the same! But daming river and diverting is!

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