Aral Sea

Aral Sea

Formerly the fourth largest lake in the world with an area of 26,300 square miles, the Aral Sea has been shrinking since the 1960s after the rivers that fed it were diverted by Soviet irrigation projects. Latest satellite images reveal that it is completely gone. The rivers feeding it were diverted to grow cotton in Uzbekistan. They use lots of chemicals in agriculture there. The runoff into what is now known as the Aralkum Desert is so polluted that the dust blowing off the dry lake bed is toxic. Birth defects are a huge problem in the area.

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