I was walking with a friend through Gregorio Marañon last night when we stumbled upon an exhibit at the Roca Madrid Gallery about the Aral Sea. I knew nothing about the Aral Sea beforehand, and was incredibly shocked and moved by its story.
The Aral Sea is located between Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. For many years, there was a thriving fishing and canning industry, and fishermen shipped canned seafood all over the world. During the 1960s, the cotton industry took over, and the Soviet Union created irrigation pipes made of faulty materials, which caused 70 percent of the transported water to be lost. In addition, the pesticides used in cotton production contaminated the water and killed sea life. Over the years, the Aral Sea has shrunk dramatically leaving desert for miles around. The people, who had once based their livelihood around the Sea, now suffer from lack of resources and serious health problems. Those who remember the Aral Sea pray for it to return someday.
When you go to the Gallery, you receive free entry to the exhibit, a guided tour, and a film screening. I left feeling much more knowledgeable about the water access issue and it gave me a desire to learn a lot more about our planet’s environmental problems and ultimately do something about them. Please do check out this exhibit, as it is an important one.