The Aral Sea Is the Ecological Disaster That You’ve Probably Never Heard Of
Reaching what is left of the Aral Sea will take a long time no matter where you choose to depart from. Located in a remote corner of Central Asia between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, the lake that was once the fourth largest in the world has been receding for the past six decades, with disastrous consequences for the communities relying on its waters. The dark pools staining the vast expanse of arid flatlands that can be seen today on a map represent a fraction of what the Aral Sea used to be. Registered in UNESCO’s Memory of the World archives, the ecological tragedy that damaged the region was caused by a force that turned out to be much fiercer than global warming — the Soviet Union’s agricultural policies.