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In 1918, the Russian government decided that the two rivers that fed the Aral Sea, the Amu Darya in the south and the Syr Darya in the northeast, should be diverted to irrigate the desert, in order to attempt to grow rice, melons, cereals, and cotton.

By 2004, the Aral Sea had shrunk to 25% of its original surface area, and a nearly fivefold increase in salinity had killed most of its natural flora and fauna. By 2007 it had declined further to 10% of its original size, splitting into three separate lakes, two of which are too salty for fish to live in.

The Aral Sea is also heavily polluted, largely as the result of weapons testing, industrial projects, pesticides and fertilizer runoff. Wind-blown salt from the dried-out seabed damages crops, and polluted drinking water and salt- and dust-laden air cause 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. (from Wikipedia).

This photo was taken in extreme heat and brightness. I dropped the f-stop down 2 to compensate, and luckily the sun was behind for the best angles anyway. Taken from the edge of Moynaq town where there is a small cliff that used to overlook the sea.

mamcg, BennyV, delic, rchristiansmith, claudio74, holmertz has marked this note useful

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Additional Photos by Paul Thomas (paulianthomas) Silver Note Writer [C: 5 W: 0 N: 75] (264)
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