Environmental problems in Kazakhstan "The nature should be protected as we protect human lives” P.I.Tchaikovsky
Environmental problems of our Republic: The Aral Sea’s problem The Caspian Sea’s problem Atmospheric pollution Wind erosion Semipalatinsk nuclear test site P.S.
The Aral Sea’s problem Currently, humanity has plenty of global environmental problems that it has to take care of now. Desiccation of the Aral Sea is one of the items on the list. The Aral Sea , is located in southwestern Kazakhstan and northwestern Uzbekistan, near the Caspian Sea. The Aral Sea is still listed as the fourth largest lake in the world. But the statistic might change. The initial reason for the Aral’s decline is the fact that Soviet planners diverted water from Aral’s two big feeding rivers (Amu Darya and Syr Darya) into cotton fields in the territory of Uzbekistan… Because of this irrigation, the sea began to go down. Unwise use of water has led to the current state of the Aral Sea. The disappearance of the sea as a part of the ecosystem is just one problem that is followed by hundreds of subsequent problems. One of them has already risen… Now a ton of salt cover the former bed of the Aral Sea. The wind blows the salt dust for thousands of kilometers. As a result of this, trees do not bear fruits any more… The situation on the Aral Sea has an influence on everything that is around it.
The Caspian Sea’s problem The Caspian Sea is an inland salt lake between Europe and Asia, bordering Azerbaijan, Russia, Kazakhstan, and Iran. Though it receives many rivers, including the Volga, Ural, and Kura, the sea itself has no outlet. With a basin 1,200 km long and up to 320 km wide and an area of 386,400 sq km, it is the largest inland body of water in the world. The water level of the Caspian Sea has been rising steadily since 1978 for reasons that scientists have not been able to explain fully. At the northern end of the sea, more than a million hectares of land in Atyrau Province have been flooded. Experts estimate that if current rates of increase persist, the coastal city of Atyrau, eighty-eight other population centers, and many of Kazakstan's Caspian oil fields could be submerged by 2020.
Atmospheric pollution Environmental pollution, especially atmospheric pollution, is another urgent problem in Kazakhstan. In some big cities and industrial centers concentrations of some toxic substances, such as heavy metal dust, sulfur dioxide, carbon oxide, and some others, are greater by tens of time than maximum permissible concentrations (MPC). The most acute situation is typical of the cities Taraz, Temirtau, Almaty, Oskemen, Leninogor, Shymkent, Balkash, and some others. Pollutant concentrations in these cities within a year are by 5 to 10 times greater than MPC. Atmospheric air is significantly polluted in the regions, where mineral resources are exploited. Air pollution results also from spaceships launching at the Baikonur space center. Apart from air pollution there is also pollution of surface waters and other components of the biosphere in the industrially developed regions. The industrial pollution is aggravated by large-scale chemical pollution caused by agriculture. Various chemical means for plant protection, defoliants, pesticides, and excessive fertilizers pollute both environmental and foodstuffs.
Wind erosion Wind erosion has also had an impact in the northern and central parts of the republic because of the introduction of wide-scale dry land wheat farming. In the 1950s and 1960s, much soil was lost when vast tracts of Kazakhstan's prairies were plowed under as part of Khrushchev's Virgin Lands agricultural project. By the mid-1990s, an estimated 60 percent of the republic's pastureland was in various stages of desertification.
Semipalatinsk nuclear test site The gravest environmental threat to Kazakstan comes from radiation, especially in the Semey (Semipalatinsk) region of the northeast, where the Soviet Union tested almost 500 nuclear weapons, 116 of them above ground. Often, such tests were conducted without evacuating or even alerting the local population. Although nuclear testing was halted in 1990, radiation poisoning, birth defects, severe anemia, and leukemia are very common in the area.
Thank you for your attention! Let's save our environment!