Once one of the largest saline lakes, the Aral Sea, was recognized as a significant environmental disaster as the water level decreased dramatically. Water level decrease increases water salinity, affecting biodiversity. Exposed lake beds become the source for fine dust picked up by the dust storms and spread across a long distance, affecting people’s health in surrounding areas. This review paper attempts to evaluate the potential links between the Aral Sea shrinking and the existing health issues in the case of Kazakhstan. The literature-based research revealed that the population of the Aral Sea basin region has been suffering from exposure to various pollutant residues for a long time. There is an apparent increase in morbidity and mortality rates in the region, especially in people suffering from chronic illness. Furthermore, the catastrophic desiccation of the Aral Sea has led to the sharp deterioration in living conditions and negative trends in the socio-economic situation of the region’s population. While the dust storms spread the polluted salts from the exposed bottom across the Aral Sea region, specific contaminants define the relevance and importance of public health problems linked to the basin rather than the Aral Sea drying process. There is, however, no clear evidence that associated dust storms are the only primary source of the deterioration of people’s health. Moreover, One Health approach seems to play a crucial role in achieving better outcomes in the health of people and the health of the environment.
- Geovetenskap och miljövetenskap