Реферат: Aral Sea - What Was and What Is

AralSea—What Was and What Is

Since the very beginning of itsexistence, the human being has been developing. It has never stopped, and it never will. During the last couple of centuries it has been developing veryaggressively, and it has reached tremendous achievements in all fields.  Unfortunately mankind has achieved tremendoussuccess in polluting its environment also. Nowadays, nature is missing many of its inhabitants: – those who aresupposed to be under the protection of humans as young brothers and sisters.Pollution was the reason for their extinction. Finally, the humanity startedpaying more attention to what surrounds it. It started thinking about the future, its future generations, and theinheritance to these generations.  People have started asking themselves more often questions like, “Whatwill we have left to other children after us?” Currently, humanity has plenty of global environmental problems that ithas to take care of now.  Tomorrow willbe too late.  Some of these global environmentalproblems are global warming, deforestation, freshwater contamination,destruction of ozone layer of the earth, pollution of space orbit of the earthby parts of used equipment.  Desiccationof the Aral Sea is one of the items on the list. 

The Aral Sea, which is also considered to be a lake or InlandSea in Central Asia, is located in southwestern Kazakstan and northwesternUzbekistan, near the Caspian Sea.  TheAral has no outlet.  The Aral Sea isstill listed as the fourth largest lake in the world.  But it has been shrinking for decades, andthe statistics might change.  In time theAral Sea may not the fourth largest lake in the world anymore.

Nowadays, two major problems have risen before thegovernments of Uzbekistan and Kazakstan; the desiccation and as a result ofthis threat of the complete disappearance of the sea, and the danger of thebroad extension of anthrax bacteria that was stored by the Soviet ArmyVozrozdenia Island.

In comparison with the size of the sea in the 1960’s, the Sea hasdeclined in size by seventy-six percent. The initial reason for the Aral’s decline is the fact that Sovietplanners diverted water from Aral’s two big feeding rivers (Amu Darya and SyrDarya) into cotton fields in the territory of Uzbekistan. Because of thisirrigation, the sea is now seventy miles away from its former bank (in someplaces even more).  Ninety percent of theSyr Daya’s water is diverted into canals and reservoirs.  Millions of people in Central Asia rely onthe rivers for a livelihood.  Uzbekistan,for instance, generates twenty-eight percent of its hard currency from cottonirrigated with river water (The Aral Sea,/visearth.ucsd.edu/VisE_Int/aralsea/).

Planning the irrigation system, the Soviet planners were onlyafter high rates of cotton harvests. Unwise use of water has led to the current state of the Aral Sea.    The salt content of the Sea’s watersincreased by about threefold, adversely affecting plant and animal life andcausing the fishing industry to decline.

The disappearance of the sea as a part of the ecosystem isjust one problem that is followed by hundreds of subsequent problems.  One of them has already risen: The drying ofthe sea has left behind three million hectares of desiccated seabed, coveredwith accumulated salts which the wind carries away and deposits over thousandsof square kilometers of arable land turning the land into dead ones.  One can see white ridges amid the soil in thefield.  Salty dust from the dried outland blows in squalls through the area, causing discomfort and respiratoryproblems.  Wind brings more than ahundred tons of salty dust per square mile on the region every year.   As a result of this, trees do not bear fruitany more. 

            The Aral Sea’s desiccation has aninfluence on everything that is around it. The climate in the region has changed significantly; the winters areeven colder, summers are even hotter.

            The sea was not only the watersupply for the population, but it was the source of their income.    A large part of the population was involvedin fishing and resort industries.   Now,that the Sea is far away, these businesses are no longer available, and thatleads to deterioration of the financial situation of the people in the area. 

“In city of Muynak, the three hundred-vesselfleet once employed a thousand fishermen. It is now a collection of rusting hulls half-buried amid the dunes onthe edge of town.  Yet the sixty-year-oldcanning factory still clatters, all steam and stench, although its sevenhundred workers handle fish brought by lorry from the lakes around Tashkent,one thousand miles away” (Reeves, The Sea Sickness).

The sea has turned from a richfishing ground to a prairie of poison dust. Desiccation has a great deal of influence on the population’s health;the change in environment has significantly increased rates of birth defects,infant mortality, cancers, malnutrition, respiratory diseases, and the anemiasuffered by almost all women of child-bearing age. Malnutrition has risensharply; fish is no longer a part of the people’s daily diet.  Another side effect imposed on the populationis a dramatically increased rate of tuberculosis in the area. 

One of the causes of health deterioration is that over threedecades the water could not or barely could make it to the Aral Sea.  The Aral’s water contains a lot ofpesticides.  The pesticides sank to thebottom of the lake.  As the lake driedup, this layer of pesticide became exposed to the wind, which blows it away onthe other lands.

The partial solution for the problem is to build a dam tokeep water from flowing into the larger, southern portion.  Plans call for the structure’s base to be 150yards wide.  If money is found for theconstruction, the water level of the northern sea will rise to the same levelit was in 1960’s.  As a result of theconstruction, salination of the sea will decrease.  This fact might contribute to restoration offishing and resort industries.

For the population of this region, the dam is a rare ray ofhope. If the dam holds on the small sea, a microclimate will be restoredthere.  The health of people will improveand it will be good for the economy.

Calculations by the Kazak Academy of Science in Almaty, thecountry’s main commercial city, suggest the entire sea might disappear by 2010without the dam.  Currently the northernSea is one-sixth as large as the southern portion.  If the surface area is reduced, less waterwill evaporate. The full damage caused cannot be repaired, but it can bestopped from going any further.

            The second threat to the Aral Seaand its inhabitants is anthrax bacteria stored 1988 by the Soviet Army.  The Army was trying to get rid of its germweapons and stored the bacteria on one of the Aral’s islands.  Soldiers dug large pits and poured a mixtureof anthrax bacteria and bleach.  Thebleach was supposed to kill the bacteria, but it did not.  Even with the passage of time, the bacteriastay alive. 

Now, the Sea is drying out and this island can become a partof land.  This fact carries the threatthat anthrax bacteria can be exposed to atmosphere one day, and it will becomea very serious danger to both countries. 

At this time, both governments in cooperation with the UnitedStates are undertaking actions in order to prevent the extension of the bacteria. 

Over the two last centuries many of Earth’s inhabitantsbecame extinct as a result of environmental pollution.  It is time to stop it; otherwise the nextextinct inhabitant might turn out to be humanity itself. 

Works cited

R.J. Bennet and R.J.Chorley.  “EnvironmentalSystems.”  Princeton:  Princeton University Press, 1978

Sulvan J.Kaplan, Ph.D. Evelyn Kivy– Rosenberg, Ph.D.  “Ecology and The Quality of Life.”  Illinois: Publisher spring field, 1973

Andrew, Goudie. “The Human Impact.”  Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 1981

John, Passmore. “Man’sResponsobility for Nature.”  NewYork: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1974

Robin, Butlim A, and Neil Roberts.  “EcologicalRelations in Historical Times.” London: The Institute of British Geographers, 1985.

Sue Loyd-Robers. “Kazakhs Struggle to Refill theirLost Sea; Draining the Aral Destroyed a Way of Life.”  Newspaper Publishing PLC, London: TheIndependent. 

Phill, Reeves “TheSea Sickness.”  Newspaper PublishingPLC, London: The Independent, March 6, 1999.

Graham, Hugles. “ScientistsFight to Save the Aral Sea: Desappearing Lake Waters Leave Disease, Poverty inWake.”  Southan Inc.  The Ottawa Citizen,  January 30, 1999.

Ganiel, Williams. “The Sinking Sea; Dike SplittingKazakhstan’s Aral Dims Hopes for Its Salvation.”  The Washington Post, November 1, 1998. 

The Aral Sea.  www.southampton.ac.uk/%7Eengenvir/water/aral.sea.html

The Aral Sea.  visearth.ucsd.edu/VisE_Int/aralsea

Water Features and Water Issues: Aral Sea.  eol.jsc.nasa.gov/newsletter/html_mir/aral.html

Children’s Response to the Aral Sea Problem solar.rtd.utk.edu/partners/ccsi/announce/perzconf.htm