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UNSG Calls Aral Sea “Shocking Disaster”

Posted by feww on April 4, 2010

Serial No  1,534. If any posts are blocked in your country, please drop us a line.

As if he spent the last half century sleeping, UN’s Secretary General is suddenly awoken to the  “shocking disaster” of dying Aral Sea

The Aral Sea is an endorheic basin located in Central Asia shared between Kazakhstan  in the north and Uzbekistan, in the south.

Map of Aral Sea. Source: World Bank.

Once described as the world’s fourth largest lake, fed by two major rivers of Amu Darya in the south, and the Syr Darya in the north,  Aral Sea spanned an area of about  70,000 km² with a total volume of more than 1 trillion cubic meters  (1,000 cubic km) in 1960. The bountiful sea provided annual catches of about 50,000 tons without fail.  The scenic deltas of its major tributaries, dotted with dozens of smaller lakes, were rich wetlands and marshes teeming with life, covering an area larger than half a million hectares.

It reduced to a pond measuring about 8% of its original size in 2007, and split into three lakes: North Aral Sea, and the two heavily shrunk eastern and western basins of the South Aral Sea.

The south-eastern lake completely disappeared last year, leaving behind the south-western lake, now a thin strip of shallow water. (See image).

Aral Sea captured by MODIS on NASA’s Aqua satellite –  true-color image dated March 26, 2010. A plume of dust blows from the sediments of the South Aral Sea toward the southeast, along the Kazakhstan-Uzbekistan border. Northeast of the plume, two red outlines indicate hotspots associated with fires.The lakebed sediments, prone to forming dust plumes, have become a repository for salt, fertilizers, and pesticides and pose a threat to human health in the region. Source: Nasa/Modis website.

Two images of Aral Sea. L: 2008. R:1989.  Source: Nasa

This natural-color satellite image shows the Aral Sea on August 16, 2008. The colored contour lines show the approximate shorelines of the sea since 2000. The image is from the MODIS on NASA’s Aqua satellite. The contour lines are based on MODIS data. The image documents the progress of a conservation plan to stabilize the North Aral Sea, and the continued decline of the South Aral Sea. Deeper, clearer waters are darker blue; shallower, murkier waters are greenish. Source: Nasa

Ban Ki Moon – In his Role as a Representative for Big Oil

“I was so shocked, [the dying Aral Sea is] clearly one of the worst environmental disasters in the world.”  Ban said after viewing the sea by helicopter, Reuters reported.

[You mean you lived for 67 years and made it it to the top of the UN without learning about the Aral Sea?]

UNSG is currently touring five former Soviet republics in Central Asia “that lie on some of the world’s biggest untapped oil, gas, uranium and gold reserves.” The report said.

Ban is now reduced to an agent for the oil industry using the old trick “poor people, rich resources, why not explore?”

“I urge all the leaders (of Central Asia), including President (Islam ) Karimov of Uzbekistan to sit down together and try to find solutions,” said Ban, before a meeting with the Uzbek leader.

“All specialized agencies of the United Nations will provide necessary assistance and expertise,” he said.

5 Responses to “UNSG Calls Aral Sea “Shocking Disaster””

  1. MM said


  2. Wendy said

    [Thanks! Moderator]

  3. Matt Newman said

    How is it that something so impacting the envinronment, so monumentually enormous in nature that affects the entire planet, is not in the news. I feel so uninformed it makes me feel informationally desilate that today is the very first time I have heard of this natural disaster.

    Why isn’t this in the News?

  4. Anonymous said

    Your information is completely correct.Thanks for your blog.

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