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Posts tagged Pollution

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.

Southern Italy from Bari to Taranto

40.5N 17.2E

March 15th, 2010 Category: Snapshots

Italy - February 18th, 2010

Italy - February 18th, 2010

This orthorectified image of Apulia in southern Italy stretches from Taranto, on the shores of the Gulf of Taranto (below) to Bari, on the shores of the Adriatic Sea (above).

Taranto is an important commercial and military port. It has well-developed steel and iron foundries, oil refineries, chemical works, some shipyards for building warships, and food-processing factories.

As a consequence of the poisons discharged into the air by the factories on its territory, Taranto is the most polluted city in Italy and western Europe. As a matter of fact, only 7% of Taranto’s pollution is inhabitants-related: 93% is factories-related.

Every year Taranto’s inhabitants inhale 2.7 carbon monoxide tons and 57.7 carbon dioxide tons. The latest data provided by the INES, the Italian National Institute of Emissions and Their Sources, confirm that Taranto is comparable to the Chinese Linfen and the Romanian Copşa Mică, the most polluted cities in the world due to factory emissions.

The Shrinking of the Aral Sea – December 18th, 2008

December 18th, 2008 Category: Image of the day, Lakes

The shrinking of the Aral Sea - July 1st, 2006 and December 2nd, 2008

The shrinking of the Aral Sea - July 1st, 2006 and December 2nd, 2008

The Aral Sea is a landlocked endorheic basin in Central Asia; it lies between Kazakhstan in the north and Karakalpakstan, an autonomous region of Uzbekistan, in the south.

The name roughly translates as “Sea of Islands”, referring to more than 1,500 islands of one hectare or more that once dotted its waters. There are now three lakes in the Aral Basin: the North Aral Sea and the eastern and western basins of the South Aral Sea.

Once the world’s fourth-largest inland sea with an area of 68,000 km², the Aral Sea has been steadily shrinking since the 1960s, after the rivers Amu Darya and Syr Darya that fed it were diverted by Soviet Union irrigation projects.

By 2004, the sea had shrunk to 25% of its original surface area, and a nearly fivefold increase in salinity had killed most of its natural flora and fauna.

By 2007 it had declined to 10% of its original size, splitting into three separate lakes, two of which are too salty to support fish. The once prosperous fishing industry has been virtually destroyed, causing unemployment and economic hardship.

The two side-by-side images here demonstrate how the Aral Sea has changed in the last few years. To the left is an image taken on July 1st, 2006; to the right, an image from December 2nd, 2008.  It is easy to see how much the central lake has reduced in size. On the left, it still has some algae growth, with sediments towards the southern shore, and a dark blue area of deeper waters towards the north shore. In the more recent picture, the bright green algal bloom does not appear;  rather, the water seems light blue, shallow, and full of sediments.

The Aral Sea is also heavily polluted, largely as the result of weapons testing, industrial projects, pesticides and fertilizer runoff. Wind-blown salt from the dried seabed damages crops, and polluted drinking water and salt- and dust-laden air cause serious public health problems.

The retreat of the sea has reportedly also caused local climate change, with summers becoming hotter and drier, and winters colder and longer.

source Wikipedia