Do you know the story of the Aral Sea, the sad fate of the site and the reason that we are mentioning him today? Some will say that this is a bad management of water resources and the collapse which caused miscalculation and decisions; Others will say that the Soviet government knew that the real consequences, but to progress the Soviet superpower was not essential. In any case, the slow process of destruction is fascinating as a topic; So, keep on reading, And I guarantee you that by the end of the story you will be amazed.
Aral Sea (pen. Aral Tengizi, uzb. Orol Dengiz, karalpak. Aral teңizi, rus. Aral Sea) is mainly salt water, and it is old about 5,5 million years. It is located in the middle of arid regions of Central Asia, the desert Kyzyl Kum, with characteristic high summer temperatures, cold winters and low rainfall (hardly 100 mm / year). The border between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan cuts the lake in two pieces; a northern part is Kazakhstan and south is Uzbekistan.
During the twentieth century, a growth economy of the Soviet Union under the directive Khrushchev ordered the redirection of water instead of the lake in the cotton fields, to irrigate fields in the Kyzyl Kum. The decision reflected the desire for the utilization of ideal growing conditions Uzbekistan’s cotton, with the aim of the foundation of cotton-manufacturing. The region has long been a major exporter of premium cotton, factors that lifted the economy of the entire region. Today Uzbekistan is regularly in the top 10 producers of cotton.
The surface of the lake in times of development was 68 000 km ^ 2. The depth was 53 meters. The lake was long (N -> S) 435 km wide (E -> W) 290 km. Under normal conditions, a fifth of the water in the lake is originally from rainwater, while the rest came from two largest rivers of the region.
What happened here, and why is so important for Aralsk-7? First, the water level fell. The surface of the lake declined drastically over the decades. In the 2007 lake surface was barely a tenth of the total area.
In the early nineties, the river Sir and Amu become scorched. Because there has been an increase of salt in this part of the ecosystem. In the worst of times, measured salinity was more than 100 g / L, which is too drastic for survival. Just to compare, the salinity of the Dead Sea is 350 g / L. In such conditions, the life of plants and animals become quite difficult. Reduction of water resulted in a change of the local climate – summers are becoming drier, and winters colder.
The wider area, because of a small population in the post-war period, served as a testing ground for nuclear and ballistic weapons… All this affected a health of locals. The region becomes unsuitable for life. There is a shortage of drinking water than reports of a significant number of patients with cancers of various types, as well as diseases of the respiratory system.
In the middle of the lake unexpectedly turns up-Island Vozrožđenje (rus. Rebirth) which takes place on a surface where water disappeared. City Kantubek gained the status of the closed Soviet city of Aralsk-7, which at times had over 1,000 inhabitants. The reason for the closure of the town for civils in the late forties was because of laboratories and test areas for the development of biological weapons. Many experiments with manipulation of microorganisms with high mortality in humans happened there. Many experiments to create biological weapons were attempted. As an example, they breed something devastating like Clostridium botulinum (properly distributed one gram of botulinum toxin kills two million people!). Kantubek is today one of the ghost towns.
Many other experiments happened here such as Bacillus anthracis (anthrax, anthrax – gram-positive bacillus without lumps and unable to autonomously move, vital in the laboratory over 50 years). Than Variola vera (goddess – virus, which comes in two forms, stronger form (Variola vera maior) in the twentieth century wiped out about 550 million people), Yersinia pestis (plague, the embodiment of Death that swept half the continent 700 years ago), Brucella spp. (spreads through animal products, extremely dangerous), Francisella tularensis (known as tularemia), etc. These types are easily transmitted; mortality is over 90%.
Since 1992, the island becomes a ghost town. One of the expeditions led by Brian Hayes, a biochemist who was in the company of colleagues during a 3-month stay, tested and validated 200 tons of anthrax, and buried it to a depth of 4 meters below ground. A particularly dangerous was the animals that inhabited the old local settlements – where has been reported dozens of poisonous snakes attack a team that was cleaning the area.
The area of the Aral Sea has served as parking for rusty ships for decades, and they probably will never be removed.