Once the world’s fourth-largest inland body of water, the Aral Sea is now a notorious example of ecological calamity. Retreating over the last 50 years after the rivers that fed it were diverted for Soviet cotton irrigation projects, today it covers half of its original area and its water volume has been reduced to a quarter, transforming the climate of the region. The tainted water that remains has led to chronic illness, with climbing infant mortality rates and skyrocketing bronchitis and liver cancer. The international community was unaware of these changes until satellite images from NASA revealed the extent of the disaster in 2003. Narrated by Ben Kingsley. Directed by Isabel Coixet. 

Aral: The Lost Sea

2011 ES 25 min
Festival Year: 2012
Types: Short
Topic: Environmental Advocacy and Justice, Freshwater & Oceans, Sustainable Living, Wildlife