Aral Sea - What Was and What Is — страница 2

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colder, summers are even hotter. The sea was not only the water supply for the population, but it was the source of their income. A large part of the population was involved in fishing and resort industries. Now, that the Sea is far away, these businesses are no longer available, and that leads to deterioration of the financial situation of the people in the area. “In city of Muynak, the three hundred-vessel fleet once employed a thousand fishermen. It is now a collection of rusting hulls half-buried amid the dunes on the edge of town. Yet the sixty-year-old canning factory still clatters, all steam and stench, although its seven hundred 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 rich fishing 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 anemia suffered by almost all women of child-bearing age. Malnutrition has risen sharply; fish is no longer a part of the people’s daily diet. Another side effect imposed on the population is a dramatically increased rate of tuberculosis in the area. One of the causes of health deterioration is that over three decades the water could not or barely could make it to the Aral Sea. The Aral’s water contains a lot of pesticides. The pesticides sank to the bottom of the lake. As the lake dried up, this layer

of pesticide became exposed to the wind, which blows it away on the other lands. The partial solution for the problem is to build a dam to keep water from flowing into the larger, southern portion. Plans call for the structure’s base to be 150 yards wide. If money is found for the construction, the water level of the northern sea will rise to the same level it was in 1960’s. As a result of the construction, salination of the sea will decrease. This fact might contribute to restoration of fishing and resort industries. For the population of this region, the dam is a rare ray of hope. If the dam holds on the small sea, a microclimate will be restored there. The health of people will improve and it will be good for the economy. Calculations by the Kazak Academy of Science in

Almaty, the country’s main commercial city, suggest the entire sea might disappear by 2010 without the dam. Currently the northern Sea is one-sixth as large as the southern portion. If the surface area is reduced, less water will evaporate. The full damage caused cannot be repaired, but it can be stopped from going any further. The second threat to the Aral Sea and its inhabitants is anthrax bacteria stored 1988 by the Soviet Army. The Army was trying to get rid of its germ weapons and stored the bacteria on one of the Aral’s islands. Soldiers dug large pits and poured a mixture of anthrax bacteria and bleach. The bleach was supposed to kill the bacteria, but it did not. Even with the passage of time, the bacteria stay alive. Now, the Sea is drying out and this island can

become a part of land. This fact carries the threat that anthrax bacteria can be exposed to atmosphere one day, and it will become a very serious danger to both countries. At this time, both governments in cooperation with the United States are undertaking actions in order to prevent the extension of the bacteria. Over the two last centuries many of Earth’s inhabitants became extinct as a result of environmental pollution. It is time to stop it; otherwise the next extinct inhabitant might turn out to be humanity itself. Works cited R.J. Bennet and R.J.Chorley. “Environmental Systems.” 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’s Responsobility for Nature.” New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1974 Robin, Butlim A, and Neil Roberts. “Ecological Relations in Historical Times.” London: The Institute of British Geographers, 1985. Sue Loyd-Robers. “Kazakhs Struggle to Refill their Lost Sea; Draining the Aral Destroyed a Way of Life.” Newspaper Publishing PLC, London: The Independent. Phill, Reeves “The Sea Sickness.” Newspaper Publishing PLC, London: The Independent, March 6, 1999. Graham, Hugles. “Scientists Fight to Save the Aral Sea: Desappearing Lake Waters Leave Disease, Poverty in Wake.” Southan Inc. The Ottawa Citizen, January 30, 1999. Ganiel, Williams. “The Sinking Sea; Dike