Ships abandoned in the desert that was once the Aral Sea. Photo by Arian Zwegers

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I actually can help with this, I remember doing it at school.

It was one of the largest lakes in the world and dried up to diverting water for irrigation by the Soviets. Depending who you beleive the Soveits either didn’t care that it would dryup, didn’t realise it would dry up or realised, regreted it, but thought bringing water to farmland was more important.

Personally I think it was a mix of some people not caring, some caring but being too scared to argue thier case and some thinking it was regrettable but worth it.

If I remember right it is now mainly desert and salt flats with a few small lakes around the edge. And although some normal people benefited from the diversion elsewhere the communtiy around the sea, who’s economy was mainly based on fishing, was really badly damaged. Google Moynaq for some more images and for a good idea on how much damage it did in the local area.

I also think a lot of terrestial animals were drive out of the area by the change in evniroment to.

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