Aral Sea shows signs of recovery
ALMATY (RFE/RL) - It had been predicted that the Aral Sea would totally disappear by the year 2020. Now, against all the odds, it looks like environmental efforts have started the sea on a dramatic comeback. After some four decades of depletion, the sea is showing signs of life. Experts say the northern part of the sea has returned to 40 percent of its original size. Now, the Kazakh government has requested a new loan from the World Bank to begin the second phase of the effort to regenerate the sea. The World Bank team leader for the Aral Sea Project, Joop Stoutjesdijk, says the bank is considering the feasibility of releasing more funds. Decades of decline The Aral, located between Kazakhstan to the north and Uzbekistan to the south, had shrunk to nearly a quarter of its original size over the past four decades. Stoutjesdijk, who is currently visiting Central Asia to assess the situation, says big changes can be seen today. "If you go the sea tomorrow and talk to the fishermen, they will tell you a completely different story from two-three years ago, when there was little water, when there were drought conditions, when there were health issues," Stoutjesdijk says. Water levels fell to the point that the sea split into two separate bodies of water - the Northern Aral and the Southern Aral. The Aral Sea was once the fourth-largest body of inland water in the world. During the 1960s, Soviet central planners diverted two main rivers feeding the sea - the Amudarya and the Syrdarya - to irrigate cotton fields. As a result, Uzbekistan became one of the largest cotton producers in the world. But agricultural success came at a heavy cost - the sea began to shrink, the local fishing industry completely collapsed, and the region's climate began to change. The air became saturated with chemical dust and salt left behind as the increasingly polluted sea retreated, contributing to the misery of the local population. Ailments - such as cancer, anemia, and allergies - bec ... Читать далее

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Таджикистан Онлайн
Душанбе, Tajikistan
31.05.2022 (37 days ago)
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Aral Sea shows signs of recovery

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