The drying up of the Aral Sea is a monumental killing blow to nature, caused by man and a predatory exploitation of limited water resources in Central Asia. The Swedish Aral Sea Society (SASS) works to spread information about the Aral Sea and the environmental disaster and work for democracy and development in the area.
Today, the lake is divided into several smaller lakes. Only the northernmost "Lesser Aral Sea" now has water inflow and can again produce fish. The other lakes have such a high salt content that they cannot contain any life. The situation for the people and animal species that live around the former Aral Sea shores is getting worse. Many of us have seen the strange and scary pictures of big fishing boats that have stranded and remained in a huge sand desert. The human tragedies that follow in the wake of the disaster have not been shown as clearly. Unemployment, poverty and disease have taken over in the former booming coastal landscapes. Large amounts of dried salt, fertilizer and pesticides that have accumulated over several decades today are spreading with the wind and thus poisoning the soil, the air and the groundwater. Fishing has disappeared, factories have been shut down, schools and health care have been depleted.
We do not yet know the full range of damages to the ecosystem or the effects they have on food, drinking water and the spread of diseases that follow in the path of poverty and environmental degradation. Women and children are the hardest hit. Child mortality is among the highest in the former Soviet Union. Few children are born today completely healthy and well-made. Virtually all toddlers are anaemic. Anaemia is also common in pregnant women, and therefore childbirth is often complicated.
The Aral Sea in August 2017 compared with 1960.
Photo: NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen, using Terra MODIS data from the Land Atmosphere Near real-time Capability for EOS (LANCE) and Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey.
Join the Swedish Aral Sea Society by paying the membership fee of SEK 200 to the Swedish Plusgiro 354165-3. Don't forget to write your name on the invoice!