The Aral Sea Disaster

The Aral Sea Disaster
The Aral Sea is located on the board between south Kazakhstan and north Uzbekistan. The Aral Sea is in central Asia, 500 km to the east of the Caspian Sea. It uses to be the fourth largest lake in the world and in its natural state covered an area off 66,458 sq.km, three times the size of Switzerland. The nearest major city is Tashkent, which has a population of 2,077,000. The Aral Sea has a desert continental climate it has hot summers with average July temperature above 23c and cold winters with an average temperature below -5c. The water in the Aral Sea freezes during the winter. Precipitation is about 100 mm per year. The Aral Sea is in the centre of a large, flat desert basin. In the picture to the left shows where the Aral Sea is located. What happened to the Aral Sea? The Aral Sea region is big cotton farming area. The Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers flow through cotton farmland into the sea. In the 1950s, the Soviet government decided to divert some of the water from these rivers to irrigate the cotton fields. As more water was diverted for agriculture, less and less river water flowed into the sea. [image] The Soviet Union was in control of the Aral Sea area and they decide that they needed a reliable source of cotton because it had poorly developed synthetics fibre industry. It therefore had to rely on natural fibres for its textiles industry.
Cotton was also a valuable export crop. The soviets called cotton white gold and they invested heavily in this part of central Asia to guarantee high yield of the crop. The area around the Aral Sea with its hot summers was good for the cotton fruit and vegetable growing. However, the summers are dry and the crops need a lot of water so they take water from sydar?ya and Amudar?ya Rivers to give water to the cotton about half of one rivers water flow was used to give to the cotton about half of one rivers water flow was used to give to the cotton and 10% being diverted along the Kara kum canal. All the water going to the cotton meant that less was going to the lake. Kerry Elliott gcse coursework page 3 What were the impacts of the changes on the Aral Seaand on the people?s health? The Aral Sea has shrunk by more than 60% in over 30 years. From 1973 to 1987 the Aral dropped from fourth to sixth among the world?s largest lakes. Here are some of the results of the shrinking of the Aral Sea:
As water has been drained from the rivers for cotton farming, the
sea?s water has become much saltier.
As more water has been taken from the rivers, the sea?s water level
has decreased by over 60%.
Drinking water supplies have decreased, and the water is
contaminated with pesticides and other agricultural chemicals as well
as bacteria and viruses.
The farms in the area use some highly toxic pesticides and other
harmful chemicals. For decades, these chemicals have been deposited
into the Aral Sea. When the wind blows across the dried-up sea, it
carries dust containing these toxic chemicals.
Lakes and seas tend to have a moderating effect on the climate. In
other words, the land right next to a body of water tends to be warmer
in the winter and cooler in the summer than land that?s not near the
water. As the Aral Sea has lost water, the climate has become more
extreme.
[image]Below is a picture of the Aral Seain 1960 and 2001 and how it has shrunk: I got this picture from http://www.unep.org/vitalwater/24.htm Kerry Elliott gcse coursework page 4 The Aral Seawas shrinking below are pictures of it in stages: I got these pictures from: http://enrin.grida.no/aral/maps/aral.htm [image] [image] 1993 1977 2000 1982 1984 1957 Kerry Elliott gcse coursework page 5 The impact on the people?s health: Poor water-poor crops-poor food-poor health The drying-up of the Sea, and the salt and dust laden air, have had a damaging effect on the health of the people, and the animal and plant life as well. The introduction of pesticides into the rice and cotton fields, and the seepage of the residues back into the rivers, has heavily contaminated the water for thus communities living along the banks of the rivers flowing into the Sea. Hospitalisation rates increased from 20 to 25 per 100 persons between 1980 and 1987. Mortality rates have increased by 15 times in a ten year period, and diseases such as cardiac, vascular, gallstone and tuberculosis has risen significantly especially in children. 83% of babys have a disease. The disaster has been directly linked by medical studies to diseases of blood, cancer, asthma, and heart malfunction. Many children are born with defects resulting from the drying up of the Aral Sea of the spread of toxic dusts and deterioration of the regional climate resulting from the Aral Sea disaster. The changing profile of the Aral Seain 1960-2010: year level (m) area (km2) volume (km3) salinity (g/l) 1960 53.4 66,300 1090 10 1970 51.6 60,400 970 11 1980 46.2 52,400 670 18 1990 37.8 34,800 304 33 1995 37 35,374 248 1996 36 31,516 212 1997 35 29,632 190 1998 34.8 28,687 181 45 2010 32.4 21,058 124 70 On then next four pages are four line graphs of the changing profile of the Aral Seain 1960 to 2010: The first is on level: In this graph you can see that the level of the water in the Aral sea over the years has been decreasing there is a certain period of time where it only decreased a little every year the gap where this happened was in these years 1995, 1996, 1997 the level only changed by one meter this is because it was taken in years for these three but the rest where taken every 10 years or 5 you can see from the graph that the Aral sea is shrinking. The second is on area: This graph shows the area of the Aral sea has been changing but a one point there is a bit where it increases and then the next bit goes back down year that happens at 1999 where is increased from 34.8km2 to 35.374km2 and then goes down to 31km2 the plotted points are evenly spread all in a decreasing direction. There is one part where the decree between two years is very small was where it only decreased by 0.945km2 the largest change was 17.6. The third is on volume: This graph has a strong decreasing line and as you can see in the graph there was a period of time where the volume was close hat was at about year 1996, 1997, and 1998 where there is only a year between and the others have 10 years between them. The years where it deceased the most is 1980 to 1990 where it deceased by 366km3. The fourth is on salinity: This graph shows the salinity of the Aral Sea it increases a lot most from 1998 to 2010 because it increases by 35g/l. Kerry Elliott gcse coursework page 10 This table shows the cotton production-source from a data sheet: year amount % of world production (100 metric tonnes) 1994-95 1258 6.7 1995-96 1250 6.2 1996-97 1048 5.4 1997-98 1138 5.7 1998-99 1002 5.4 1999-00 1129 5.9 2000-01 959 5 2001-02 1068 5 2002-03 1024 5.4 Graph showing cotton production is on page 11 The future of the Aral Sea is full of problems. We may assume several scenarios for the development of this water body. The first is that of containing decreasing amount of water running into the sea it is sire that the area and volume of the sea will also decrease. At present we can only make general estimations of trends in there decreasing changes. On the whole, if the water flow to the sea does not change significantly, a progressive increase in the salinity of the sea water will occur, in which case the sea will no longer be one of the biggest lakes. Finally, we should consider a situation where there is an increasing river flow to the Aral Sea. In that case, the water volume and area would both grow while the salinity gradually fell. The rate of the process would depend upon the amount of river run off. It can be appreciated that the Aral Sea is now an environmental catastrophe. The water level is declining and the ecosystem is being degraded, declining living conditions and health of the people living around its shores. It should be admitted that the reasons for the crisis are wrong priorities for the economic development of the Aral basin, poor quality of the restoration systems, and an excessive amounts of chemicals used in agriculture. Kerry Elliott gcse coursework page 12 [image] [image]
They could levy a charge on the cotton growers for using the water
Use water from under ground reservoirs thought to exist below the
desert. This could cost a lot but could work
Transfer water from Siberian Rivers such as the Obietysh, and yenisy
to the Aral sea.
Melt glaciers in the pamir and tien shan mountains to the south and
east of the Aral sea
Control the quantity and types of chemical used as fertilisers and
pesticides
Improve the efficiency of irrigation. Many of the canals are old and
leak a lot and this means the water will be able to evaporate and that
way it is wasted.
Kerry Elliott gcse coursework page 13 [image] What would the owner of a large and profitable cotton farm think about how the area has changed from its natural state? On page 10 there is a graph of the cotton production What the owner of a large cotton farm thinks about the changes? Of course it?s a good out come I have a profitable business that in the future has a lot of business every one wants this gold dust. But it is coursing all these environmentally problems? Yes I know and I don?t want to lose the Aral Sea and nor do I want to lose my business I have worked so hard on it. Yes I understand but what can we do if your cotton production is causing problems? Well I know that we are using the water and could be maybe wasting it and we are trying to reduce to amount of water waste it is hard. You are also polluting the water that does go in to the Aral with fertilizers and pesticides Well I am sorry for that I can not really change that because if we do then cotton would not grow well. So do you have a solution to sort it out? Well surely there is some where else they can get water from to fill the Aral sea and then the water used for the cotton can keep being used and the water that does get to the Aral to have some thing that take out the fertilizers and pesticides so that the Aral sea does not get polluted and then introduce the fish back into the sea. The views from an environmentalist of the changes that they have happened to the Aral Sea? What do you think about the changes are they good ideas or bad ones? I believe it is a bad idea should never of been left to come to this if something big does not happen then we will lose the Aral sea and the wildlife will lose there homes that is if they haven?t all ready. What do you think needs to be done? I think that cotton production needs to be stopped and let the water in the river run back into the sea. Also the problem with the polluted water needs to be unpolluted and then we have to leave the environment to take it place and bring back all the fish and the sea level and area and volume to increase But wouldn?t this take time? Yes but if we didn?t get in this situation we would never have to deal with this but I believe that we have to do what ever it takes to get back this ecosystem we lost especially because it was the 4th biggest in the world now its properly one of the first lake to shrink in size so fast. Kerry Elliott gcse coursework page 14 Who do you think is to blame for causing all theses problems? I think that it is the cotton production that is causing all the problems and so I believe they are to blame but overall it is the Soviet Union that is to blame of planning all thee changes with out thinking them over and of all the things that could have gone wrong. [image] The changes were good at the time because it brought in a lot of jobs and a lot of money from the cotton production but it has caused a lot of problem like it not growing because it needs more water because of the heat and also needs fertilizer and pesticides which polluted the water the changes just mean that a lot of problems we created and coursing the 4th largest lake to shrink incredibly. The only thing I think is that some one should have stopped this before it got to this stage so I think that they should do what ever thy have to, to restore this ecosystem back to what it was even if it cost a lot of money and time. From my solution I think that the two that will be most successful would be the reduce the amount of irrigation of cotton plantations. This would enable more water from two major rivers to reach the Aral Sea. This would work because the water would go back to the lake but I think that they will need another supply of water which is not reservoirs thought to exist below the desert but I have chose this one as well because if there is water there then it would be useful but if there isn?t then we need a back up which would be to improve the cotton plantation. I believe that all the solutions will work but I think these two are the more likely to do the most change I think that the solution that wont work the most will be the solution where they would have to melt glaciers in the pamir and tien shan mountains to the south east of the Aral sea, because this idea is a stupid idea how could you melt the top of the mountain and also get it to go where you want and no one get hurt from the water.

The Aral Sea Disaster 7.6 of 10 on the basis of 3324 Review.