The USSR, the End of the Aral Sea, and Extra Disasters

File:AralSea1989 2014.jpg
(NASA: Left: Aral Sea 1989)   (NASA: Right: Aral Sea 2014)
How to Destroy an Amazing Lake
Step 1: Be the Soviet Union
Step 2: Use the 4th largest lake in the world for irrigation projects*
Step 3: DON'T create viable plans to prevent overuse
Step 4: Stand by as the Aral Sea dries up, creating the Aralkum Desert**

How to Make it Worse
Step 1: Use Vozrozhdeniya,*** the Aral Sea's biggest island, for biological military testing
Step 2: Test anthrax, smallpox, plague and a smorgasbord of other agents for 40 years
Step 3: DON'T properly store or destroy those chemicals when leaving
Step 4: Stand by as the contaminated salt and dirt blows away, contaminating surrounding areas and people

How to Watch it Happen
Watch NASA's time lapse of the Aral Sea's recession.  The link also includes more detailed analysis of how this situation came about.

*The main purpose was to convert Uzbekistan's desert lands to cotton fields, which still serve as a major economic vehicle.  To add to the sad situation, much of the labor is forced.
**The Aralkum Desert is filled with abandoned ships.  Plaid Zebra published many images of these ships
***Sometimes spelled as "Vozrozhdeniye", it is actually no longer an island.  Due to the receding water, it is now connected to the mainland.

Thanks for reading.

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