Russian Report

The Shrinking Aral Sea

Huge attempts to grow cotton made the Aral Sea in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan shrink a lot. The Aral Sea is a salt-water lake. The Aral Sea used to be the fourth largest lake in the world until the tributaries going to the lake were redirected into canals for irrigation. Now it's only a fraction of the size it was in 1960.

Fertilizer and pesticides went into the Aral Sea. The lake had a good fishing industry, but the pesticides damaged it. The pesticides and fertilizers destroyed the habitat of many plants and animals. They also threatened human health. Since the fishing industry went down, many boats were left in the middle of the lake. Now they're in the middle of a desert.

Kazakhstan built a dam to save the North Aral Sea in 2005. The World Bank helped. The North Aral Sea has gotten bigger and fishing returned to it. The south side, however, is almost completely gone. Most of the land there is semiarid or arid. Those areas are usually good for farming, but there is too much salt in the land to grow anything.

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The Trans-Siberian Railroad

The Trans-Siberian Railroad is about 6,000 miles long and crosses eight time zones. It is the longest railroad in the world. The people who built it worked really hard, but the climate and terrain made it very difficult. Construction required a lot of workers. Russian peasants, convicts, and soldiers were enlisted to help build it. The main route goes from Moscow to Vladivostok and was finished in 1916.
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After Chernobyl

On April 26, 1986, nuclear reactor 4 exploded and caught fire. The reactor was in Chernobyl. Parts of Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia had to be evacuated because of a radioactive cloud, along with Chernobyl. The fallout got to parts of northern and central Europe. The radioactive materials hurt humans, animals, and plants after the explosion. Chernobyl had to be evacuated very quickly, and people said they'd be returning, so everyone left most of their stuff behind.
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