In 1950s, the Soviets decide to turn the vast desert Steppes of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan into fields of cotton and wheat. They divert some of the rivers that feed the lake to irrigate the new crops and thus deprive the Aral Sea. Its surface area is twice that of Belgium. Many towns thrive along its shores, especially from fishing.
In 1987 the level of the water falls so low that the sea splits into two and then, in 2002, the southern part itself divides into two parts. In 2014, the eastern part of the Aral Sea disappears forever.
Man’s unregulated actions caused an ecological disaster.