The Aral Sea

In the 20’s Lenin asked the fishermen of the Aral to help and give fish to the starving Russians, which they happily did.

The Aral Sea in Kazakhstan was the world’s fourth largest lake but in the last 50 years the Aral sea has shrunk by around 90 percent which is known to be one of the world’s largest environmental disasters on the planet.

The Sea, which also borders near Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan was 26,000 square miles and many rivers fed it up until the 60’s which was then the Soviet Union diverted water from these rivers to to give a boost to the regions cotton fields in the most arid regions. The current sea levels drops up to 35 inches per year in places.

The once robust fishing town of Aral is now a dried up sandy desert wastelands with old rusty fishing trawlers and ships leaning over like they were just placed there.

The sea’s vast evaporation over the years has left high levels of toxic salt sands which carry as far as Japan and Scandinavia which has been known to cause health issues with the locals.

Cotton still remains the main economic source for all newly independent republics.

Ban Ki-Moon, the U.N Secretary General is urging central leaders to help step up their efforts to help solve this problem after visiting the sea by aircraft to a town that once used to shore many large fishing trawlers in a busy fishing town, now a town on the shore that stretches over gray desert where camels wonder next to stranded ships. Ban Ki-Moon says ‘It is clearly one of the worst disasters, environmental disasters of the world. I was so shocked,’ he said.

Aral_Sea_1989-2008

=== Will The aral Sea ever return again? ====

The ship graveyard is now gone and some lucky fishermen are still able to catch their own supper. The the return of the Aral sea is a long way off, although it has slowly been creeping back due to a dam built in the northern part of the lake by the World Bank near Aral City. These are hope to be achieved in phases.

=== What to do in Aral ===

Aral is a very small town. It’s so small that there is only one hotel called ‘Aral’ and only consists of 2 floors of bedrooms and a restaurant. There are some homestays available if you ask but you may need to brush up on your Russian. Expect to pay around 4000T a night.

Taxis are available but basically unnecessary. There is also a train station which takes around 15 mins to walk to from the hotel.

The town is not very interesting, however food and fresh produce are readily available to buy. The town is quite run down, however, the main tourist attraction is the old harbor which is located right next to the hotel. 4×4 tours are available but apart from fishing trawlers there is not much left of the ships cemetery left.

The nearest airport is 10 hours drive.