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Low Water Levels in Eastern Basin of South Aral Sea – August 14th, 2012

46.7N 61.6E

August 14th, 2012 Category: Environmental Disasters, Image of the day, Lakes

Aral Sea – August 13th, 2012

As the Aral Sea has shrunk, it has separated into three distinct main lakes. Here, the North Aral Sea and the western lake of the southern basin appear to contain significantly more water than the eastern lake.

The ecosystems of the Aral Sea and the river deltas feeding into it have been nearly destroyed, not least because of much higher salinity. The receding sea has left huge plains covered with salt and toxic chemicals – the results of weapons testing, industrial projects, pesticides and fertilizer runoff – which are picked up and carried away by the wind as toxic dust and spread to the surrounding area.

Crops in the region are destroyed by salt being deposited onto the land. Vast salt plains exposed by the shrinking Aral have produced dust storms, making regional winters colder and summers hotter The land around the Aral Sea is heavily polluted, and the people living in the area are suffering from a lack of fresh water and health problems, including high rates of certain forms of cancer and lung diseases.

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