The Aral Sea, located between Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, was once the fourth-largest lake in the world – an immense body of fresh water covering a surface area of 68,000 square kilometres.
Two port cities were located on it – Aralsk in Kazakhstan and Moynaq in Uzbekistan. Both featured thriving fishing communities and the lake itself held some 22 different varieties of fish – four of which could only be found in the Aral.
|“This is a crime against nature. The drought of the Aral Sea is a man-made tragedy.“– Sergei Azimov, a film producer|
But then the Soviet Union decided to boost cotton farming by constructing dams
on the two large rivers that flowed into the Aral Sea, the Amu Darya and the Syr Darya rivers.
This diverted these two giant rivers away from the sea into the deserts further south to irrigate large tracts of land. It proved disastrous for the Aral Sea.
[To read this entire article and see the video, click on link: People of the Lake – Al Jazeera World – Al Jazeera English]