The Aral Sea is a saline endorheic basin in Central Asia; it lies between Kazakhstan (Aktobe and Kyzylorda provinces) in the north and Karakalpakstan, an autonomous region of Uzbekistan, in the south. The name roughly translates as “Sea of Islands”, referring to more than 1,500 islands that once dotted its waters.
Formerly, one of the four largest lakes of the world with an area of 68,000 square kilometres (26,000 sq mi), the Aral Sea has been steadily shrinking since the 1960s after the rivers that fed it were diverted by Soviet Union irrigation projects.
The region’s once prosperous fishing industry has been virtually destroyed, bringing unemployment and economic hardship.
The Aral Sea region is heavily polluted, with consequent serious public health problems. The retreat of the sea has reportedly also caused local climate change, with summers becoming hotter and drier, and winters colder and longer.
There is now an ongoing effort in Kazakhstan to save and replenish the North Aral Sea. However, the outlook for the remnants of the South Aral Sea remains bleak. It has been called “one of the planet’s worst environmental disasters”.Read more here
Daniel Schorr, a reporter and commentator who over 60 years grew from a feisty young gun to a well-respected and often-skeptical elder statesman of television and radio, died yesterday at a Washington hospital.He was 93 and until early this month was still offering regular commentaries on NPR. His last commentary on “Weekend Edition” aired July 10.