The Aral sea – a place where the end of the world has arrived

“It looks like the end of the world. If the Apocalypse ever happens, the people of Karakalpakstan will certainly survive: we already were in hell.”

These are the words of Yusuf Kamalova, a scientist from the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan, which in addition to its direct specialization of wind power – is engaged in environmental issues in the region. He was 64 years, and we can say that all his life he is forced to witness the slow death of the Aral sea.

In the 1960-ies it was the fourth largest inland body of water on the planet. For thousands of years, the Aral sea was a source of life for the entire region. When it passed the great silk road, here came the ancestors of the modern Uzbeks, Tajiks, Kazakhs and other peoples.

From the sea had never flowed out, not one river, so the water level here for centuries were supported by two supply arteries – the major rivers Amudarya and Syrdarya and natural fumes. This balance was broken in the Soviet era, when the region was forced to turn into one huge cotton plantation.

On the orders of Stalin in the 1920-ies there was practically hand dug hundreds of irrigation canals, the total length of which exceed thousands of kilometers. They are all fed by waters of Amu Darya and Syr Darya, began above their deltas, but even such a dastardly blow nature has managed to withstand the natural water balance were not violated – the Aral sea survived.

In the 1960s the situation has changed dramatically and quickly. In an effort to increase the harvest on cotton plantations, Soviet engineers has expanded the existing and build more irrigation canals. The water level in the Aral sea began to drop rapidly. By 1987, it is one large body of water turned into two – North, which is located on the territory of Kazakhstan, and the southern, which belongs to Karakalpakstan is the poorest region of Uzbekistan. By 2002, the “South sea” words so that they were divided into Western and Eastern parts. The Eastern part of the South sea has completely disappeared in 2014.

The fate of southern sea is considered a foregone conclusion, but for the preservation of the North still came from. In 2005, Kazakhstan built a dam which permanently isolated southern part of the Aral sea, but retained water and fish resources of the North.

    Constantine Kuhlow
    Author ruYachts

    Editor, co-founder of the portal ruYachts.com.

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