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The Disappearing of the Aral Sea



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The Aral Sea, formerly the world’s 4th largest lake, is nearly gone.  The two main rivers that supplied the sea with water have been diverted for agricultural purposes – mostly for irrigation.  In 1961, the Aral Sea began shrinking, and now most of it is gone.  The once fresh water lake, a boon for local fisherman, is now saline, decimating an industry that employed 60,000 people.   The lake bed is now an ecological disaster.  The chemicals from industry and agriculture now form huge dust storms and spread around the local areas via dust storms, sometimes visible from satellite photos.  To put this in perspective, it would be similar if Lake Erie and Lake Ontario were drained entirely of water.  Everything about the treatment of the Aral Sea is disastrous from an economic and environmental standpoint.
Here’s the Aral Sea in 1985, after 25 years of slow draining:

Here is the Aral Sea in 2011, after draining increased during the early 1980’s:
Two of the more wretched aspects of this environmental disaster: 1) The Soviet authorities viewed the Aral Sea as “nature’s error” and saw its demise as inevitable.  “Some Soviet experts apparently considered the Aral to be “nature’s error”, and a Soviet engineer said in 1968, “it is obvious to everyone that the evaporation of the Aral Sea is inevitable.”  and 2) the former seabed is rife with dangerous chemicals that are still unknown in quantity, type and purpose.  “In 1948, a top-secret Soviet bioweaponslaboratory was established on the island in the center of the Aral Sea which is nowdisputed territory between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. The exact history, functions and current status of this facility are still unclear, but bio-agents tested there includedBacillus anthracisCoxiella burnetiiFrancisella tularensisBrucella suisRickettsia prowazekiiVariola major (smallpox), Yersinia pestisbotulinum toxin, and Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus.” (Both quotes from Wikipedia)
Why is there no reaction to this?  Where is the hue and cry over man destroying his environment?  One would expect the shrill howling that comes from the tripwire sensitive environmentalists.  Here you have man made decisions that benefit the Organized Wealthy – large agricultural interests that have sacrificed a huge ecosystem and the jobs of regular people for minority interests.  I think it is the same reason that one never hears about coal plants with enough girth to power San Diego going online in China every 12 days.  These environmental shenanigans are going on in countries of the far Left.  The Communists in the old Soviet Union were shielded by academia and the mainstream press in all ways for decades.  Collectivism is taught here in the United States as a good thing.  Students are indoctrinated in school to speak seriously about things like the “equal distribution of wealth” and “global warming”.  The horrors of the (sort of) free market West are trumped up and vilified to the hilt.  Here you have the disappearance of 26,300 square miles of fresh water, and nothing from the usual outlets.  Apparently the malfeasance of collectivists thousands of miles away are to be ignored, if not forgotten.  This is a sorry state of affairs, and makes the once proud environmental movement look ridiculous.
The Aral Sea in the good old days of 1853:
Here is one of the effects of the Sea’s disappearance – this used to be a harbor:

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