Fourth largest lake in the world: Dry Tears of the Aral

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Uzbekistan
By GreaterGo Editor
9 Jul 2024

Dry Tears of the Aral

The Aral Sea was once the fourth largest lake in the world, encompassing Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Unfortunately, as the Soviet Union government pushed through the river diversion projects in the 1960s, the Aral Sea suffered from a shortage of water, which was mostly irrigated to the deserts nearby. The lake has continued to shrink and is now divided into the northern and southern regions.

 

The northern region, which lies on the territory of Kazakhstan, was comparatively lucky. In 2003, the Kazakh government spent USD260 million and started a rescue plan. The North Aral Sea has successfully recovered some of its areas. The ecology of the lake has improved, so has the living of the fishermen.  

 

The South Aral Sea, in contrast, couldn’t be well-conserved given budgetary constraints of the Uzbekistan government. It is expected to dry up the earliest in 2020. This might cause not only the extinction of animals, but also frequent dust storm risen from desiccated lake bed sediments such as salts. 

 

The Aral Sea has been inscribed to the Memory of the World Register of the United Nations as an ecological tragedy. In the southern region of the lake, there are still abandoned ships on the dunes which were once covered by the lake. This surreal scenery seems to be alerting the people to the damage to nature.

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