Aral sea case study- Role of different key players here and impacts

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  • Aral sea case study- Role of different key players here and impacts
    • Location
      • North-western part of Uzbekistan and southern Kazakhstan
    • Background
      • Formerly, one of the four largest lakes of the world with an area of 68,000 square kilometers, the Aral Sea has been steadily shrinking since the 1960s
    • Causes
      • In the early 1960's the soviet central government decided t make the soviet Union self- sufficient in cotton and increase rice production
      • Government officials ordered the additional amount of needed water to be taken from the two rivers that feed the Aral Sea.
      • Large dams were built across both rivers and an 850-mile central canal with a far-reaching system of "feeder" canals was created
    • Impacts
      • 1. Over 30 years. the Aral sea experienced a severe drop in water levels, its shoreline receded and its salt content increased. The water level has dropped by 16 meters and the volume has been reduced by 75%
      • 2. The marine environment became hostile to the sea life in it, killing the plants and animals. As the marine life died, the fishing industry suffered. All 20 known fish species in the Aral sea are now extinct, unable to survive toxic salty sludge.
      • 3. The sea has shrunk to two-fifths of its original size and not ranks about 10th in the world
      • 4. Drinking water supplies have dwindled, and the water is contaminated with pesticides and other agricultural chemicals as well as bacteria and viruses
      • 5. Highly toxic pesticides and other harmful chemicals are blown from the dried up sea creating dust containing these toxic chemicals
      • 6. As the Aral sea has lost water, the climate has become more extreme
      • 7. Respiratory illnesses including tuberculosis and cancer, digestive disorders and infectious diseases are common aliments in the region
      • 8. There is a high child mortality rate of 75 in every 1,000 newborns and maternity deaths of 12 in every 1,000 women
      • 9. The Aral sea fishing industry, which use to employ 40,000 and reportedly produced one-sixth of the soviet Union's entire fish catch, had been ruined
    • The stakeholders involved
      • The former soviet union government- Began the irrigation scheme designed to develop fruit and cotton farming
      • Fishing community- use to be a prosperous industry but no huge employment
      • Local residents- Health problems and highest infant mortality rates in the world
      • Scientists-  Climate has now changed and extinction of species in the area
      • International economists- People can no longer feed themselves as the land is infertile, could create 10 million environmental refugees

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