THE ARAL SEA, which lies between Kazakhstan in the north and Uzbekistan in the south, was one of the four largest lakes in the world.
There was a time when the shoreline of the Aral Sea was an idyllic affair. Well, not anymore.
So how did human activity manage to drain the 67,339 square kilometers sea which used to supply tens of thousands of tons of fish every year?
In the 1950s, the Soviet Union diverted the Aral Sea’s two rivers sources – the Amu Darya and the Syr Darya – for agriculture. As a result, the decreased water flow made the sea saltier, killing off the abundant freshwater fish.
By the 1980s, it had completely destroyed the fishing industry, which at its peak represented roughly 13 percent of the Soviet Union’s fish stocks.
This, in turn, forced a mass migration of people as the dried-out Aral seabed caused an imbalance in the weather patterns.
The area’s inhabitants also suffered health problems at unusually high rates, from throat cancers to anemia and kidney diseases. Infant mortality in the region has been among the highest in the world.
(Via Travel Wire Asia)
Regardless of what one thinks about Global Warming and humans impact on nature, this is 100% man made. See also the Salton Sea in case one thinks this was a Soviet-only occurrence.