Tashkent, Mar 26 (IANS): Uzbekistan has called on the international community to continue supporting the Central Asian nation's efforts to mitigate the consequences of the shrinking of the Aral Sea.
Speaking during the UN 2023 Water Conference on Friday, Saida Mirziyoyeva, head of the communications and information policy sector of the executive office of the Administration of the Uzbek President, noted that her country was making efforts to stabilise the sand on the dried-up seabed of the Aral Sea, Xinhua News Agency reported.
"Now almost 1.5 million hectares of land have been planted with forest," she said, noting that projects worth more than 14 million US dollars are being implemented under the auspices of the UN.
The Aral Sea, located between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, was once the world's fourth-largest inland waterbody. It has shrunk remarkably since 1960 -- with its surface area dwindling from 67,000 square km in 1960 to just 6,000 square km in 2020.
Latest research showed that rising temperatures, a lack of water-saving technology in farmlands, wetland expansion in the middle and lower reaches, and a large amount of water storage in upstream hydropower stations, had all accelerated the shrinkage of the Aral Sea in the past two decades.
The dried shores produce salt dust, posing a serious threat to local ecological environment and people's health.