Shrinking Water Bodies
Isn’t this view simply breathtaking? What would happen if all the water in the lake dried out due to drastic weather changes or excessive human activity? There are many beautiful water bodies which have dried up and disappeared due to various reasons. These have caused adverse changes to animals and humans, who depend on these water sources. How did it happen and is there any way to stop it from getting worse?
Aral Lake (Uzbekistan)
Once the world’s fourth largest salt lake, the Aral Lake has shrunk to a small fraction of its former size. A period of drought combined with excessive irrigation had been blamed. Most of the water that was flowing through the lake was diverted away to nearby rice and cotton fields. With the drastic drop in its water level, fishing and shipping had to stop. The salt from the dried lake was carried by winds and pollutes surrounding agricultural lands.
View From Above
Sometimes we do not realise the damage we have caused, until we are able to see things from a bird’s eye view.
Lake Urmia (IRAN)
Lake Urmia was once sought after by tourists for its beautiful and therapeutic salt baths. Unfortunately, the onceglorious lake has shrunk by about 40% in area size due to the dams built on the rivers that were once flowing to it.
Wildlife such as ducks, flamingos and pelicans have fled the area without the food source from the lake. Rusty ships now sit on the barren lake bed and the winds still blow salt to farm fields, polluting the soil. As if nature had its own way to punish selfish human activity, winds carry the salt and dust from the dead lake into the nearby city, causing health and skin problems for those city dwellers.
Revival Of Lake Urmia
People are trying to save Lake Urmia, an important source of food and water for them.
LAKE TOBA (INDONESIA)
Striking closer to home, let’s look at a shrinking lake in our neighbouring country, Indonesia. Located in Sumatra, Lake Toba is Southeast Asia’s largest lake. It is a huge volcanic lake that currently covers an area of about 1,140 km², which is larger than the size
of Singapore. The lake is also a tourist attraction for many, being a place of serenity and home to many animals.
The lake still holds its glory today but its waters would not last forever if we do not do our part to preserve it. Pollution from nearby rivers, industrial and fishing activities is damaging the lake and causing it to gradually shrink. Authorities have stepped in to try to resolve the problem and arrest the damage to the lake.
PLAY A PART
Other lakes in Southeast Asia, such as those in Thailand, Cambodia and the Philippines are also under the threat of pollution and human activity. Without actions to curb the damage, we may no longer be able to appreciate these natural beauties and resources given to us. While governments can work together to reduce toxic industrial waste and activities near these water bodies, we too can play our part by reducing our waste, reusing materials and recycling.