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Scientists Propose Suggestions to Address the Aral Sea Crisis


Recently, a research team led by Prof. Tian Changyan from the Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography of the Chinese Academy of Sciences analyzed the catalysts of the Aral Sea crisis, and submitted their suggestions in a letter to Science. The letter was published in Science on June 15.

Once the world’s fourth largest lake, the shrinking Aral Sea has transformed the lake’s basin into a 5.5-million-hectare desert, posing challenges to five Central Asia countries and beyond.

The primary catalyst behind the Aral Sea’s desiccation was the overextension of irrigation within the sea’s catchment area between the mid-1950s and mid-1980s. The shrinking Aral Sea has disrupted local terrestrial ecosystems and caused a decline in human health and welfare.

"International support and regional cooperation are required to address the crisis," the researchers suggested, “International organizations can provide resources and expertise to assist the affected countries, and continued cooperation among the central countries is also critical.”



LIU Jie 

Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography 

Tel: 86-0991-7885505 

E-mail: liujie@ms.xjb.ac.cn 

Web: http://english.egi.cas.cn/