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Giovanni Baldini

Giovanni Baldini




Reaching the missing shore of Aral Lake

Published January 30th, 2013

From Nukus to the southern shore of Aral Lake it's a long way.

Much longer that any official map will show you.

Nukus is far. That's why it exists.

Red Army was needing a secluded place where to produce and test chemical weapons, so Nukus developed from an obscure settlement to a big town with broad avenues and with large concrete buildings.

Even if this area is thousands of kilometers far from the nearest ocean still it's water what shaped its economy, because Amu Darya river is the source of an intensive agricolture since centuries. And because of fishing industries of Aral Lake.

But Aral isn't there anymore.

During '60s, when Soviet Union planned Karakalpakstan and western Kazakhstan to become a neverending cotton field, they know they was going to dry that lake, but it was a short-lived strategy: if this boosted economy for a while then they realized that keeping up with production they had to use huge amounts of fertilizer.

By the year 2010 Aral Lake was a poisonous shallow ...

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