Sea that isn't

Down to Earth - - SCIENCE - RA­JAT GHAI | DOWN TO EARTH

Kaza­khstan

Turk­menistan

Iran

ARAL SEA

Uzbek­istan

Iserve as an eye-opener for T SHOULD world lead­ers and in­sti­tu­tions that favour eco­nomic growth at the cost of the en­vi­ron­ment. In Oc­to­ber last year, the world saw the death of the Aral Sea—a lake that was so big that it was called a sea.

In 1960, the Aral Sea was the world’s fourth largest in­land wa­ter body, spread over 67,499 sq km—an area 65 times that of Delhi. Its basin was spread over seven Cen­tral Asia na­tions—Uzbek­istan, Turk­menistan, Kaza­khstan, Ta­jik­istan, Kyr­gyzs­tan, Afghanistan and Iran. To­day, hardly 50 years later, it is a shadow of its for­mer self. Ac­cord­ing to UK-based on­line en­vi­ron­ment pa­per Earth Times, 82 per cent of the sea has dried up into a desert,Aralkum.

“The tragedy of the Aral Sea is among the big­gest eco­log­i­cal dis­as­ters of mod­ern times, in­deed of hu­man his­tory it­self. It is a crime against na­ture. A man-made tragedy,” says Istanbul film­maker En­sar Al­tay,who in 2013 made a doc­u­men­tary on the sea called Peo­ple of the Lake, high­light­ing the plight of the sea and those who once lived on its shores.

In the be­gin­ning

The Aral Sea is an en­dorheic lake, which means that although it has sur­face inflow, there is no sur­face out­flow of wa­ter. The inflow into the sea is be­cause of two rivers, the Amu Darya and Syr Darya.

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