IT would seem even the worst man-made ecological disasters can be reversed: the northern Aral Sea - once a shallow saline remnant of its former self, surrounded by dust bowls - is now growing again, boosting fish production and improving the weather. Once, the Aral Sea seemed doomed: between 1960 and 2004, the sea's surface area shrank almost 70% and its level dropped about 20 metres. The culprit: water being diverted for irrigation from the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers. In 1990, the sea fell so low, it split in two: a small ...

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