Ecosystem and environment Caspian Seaby Morteza Aminmansour
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed water body in the world and it is located on the border of Asia and Europe. Its shoreline extends for 5360 km.
Caspian Sea is divided between the independent countries of IRAN, KAZAKHSTAN, AZERBAIJAN, RUSSIA, TURKMENISTAN and home to myriad ecosystem.
The coastal wetlands of the Caspian basin include many shallow,
saline pools, which attract a variety of bird life and biodiversity. Over 400 species are unique to the Caspian. The sturgeon is famous the world around for the roe is produces. Approximately 90% of the world’s Caviar comes from Caspian Sea. The region is booming more important from strategic point of view.
The former Soviet Republics are trying to attract more investors in the oil and gas sectors. This leads to the beginning of extraction works to the ecology of the Caspian basin.
Oil and gas extraction, along with transportation and industrial production has been the source of soil, air and water pollution in the Caspian region. The contamination from phenols, oil products particularly oil extraction and pipeline construction has contributed to the pollution of about 30,000 hectares of land.
In Kazakhstan the cases of blood disease, tuberculosis and other diseases are four times more common in the Caspian area than the rest of the country’s average. Water, which has been contaminated by oil products in Kazakhstan, is still used for drinking water. This contamination is cited as a reason for intestinal infections in Kazakhstan’s coastal areas.
There is no doubt that development of the oil and gas industry does have the significant impacts to the environment.
The untreated waste from the Volga River –into which half the population of Russia and most of its heavy industry drains its sewage-empties into the Caspian Sea.
The chemicals and pesticides are threats to the flora and fauna. Since 2000 due to the pollution thousands of seals died in the Caspian Sea. The pollution has weakened their immune systems.
The Caspian sturgeon and Caspian seal, one of two freshwater spices in the world, have been dying in large number as a result of polluters and poachers since the collapse of the former Soviet Union.
As recently in 1980’s and beginning 1990’s Iran and former Soviet countries fishermen took more than 30,000 tons of sturgeon.
The Caspian is a self-contained body of water into which the Volga River drains after passing through Russia’s industrial heartland.
130 large and small rivers flow into the Caspian Sea, nearly all of which flow into the north or west coast. Volga River the largest splits into a thousand smaller streams as it flows through a largely uninhabited delta feeding into the Caspian Sea.
A World Bank report says that the great sturgeon has lost 99 percent of its spawning grounds and the Russian sturgeon, 80 percent, because of dam construction on the river that feed into the Caspian. Contamination by DDT used in agriculture could be another factor contributing to the disappearance of the Caspian sturgeon because it could be a cause of infertility in the fish.The over fishing of Sturgeon has caused a dramatic decline in fish stocks. The number of commercial fish has considerably been reduced. Some fish species have been included into the red book. The Zander and the Caspian thorn fish have disappeared.
The Caspian seal is the smallest seal is native to the Caspian is classed as vulnerable by the international Union for the Conversation of Nature.
They are 17 spices in the red book of Azerbaijan. There are 120 species of fish in the Caspian with greatest commercial value (sturgeon, salmon, sprat, shad, carp).
A lack of regional cooperation, highlighted by the still unresolved legal status of the Caspian Sea. Weak environmental laws and regulation and the ability to enforce them is affecting efforts to protect the Caspian’s environment.
Polluted beaches and coastlines mean that swimming in most areas of the Sea is hazardous. The higher rate of cancer is recorded in the area .In order to improve the environment in and around Caspian Sea the countries like Iran, Russia, and other need to work together and implementation of modern technology is required.
Biodiversity of the Caspian Sea increased after building the Volga-Don Canal opened in 1954. Fish and Crustacean in the Caspian Sea have the largest numbers of species, with 63% off all modern species.
Since 1978 the sea level has risen almost 7.4 feet. Unexpected flooding has caused lot of damages to residential areas.
Due to the rise of water in Turkmenistan, the town of Darwish, which is detached from the western part of the mainland, is turning into an island and Cheleken and Karakul are sinking into the water as well.
A six miles sewage pipeline in the Azeri coastal district of Azizbayov has been partially submerged by the rising water; causing the pump station they’re to malfunction and allowing sewage from the area to be discharged directly into the Sea. Up to 100,000 people in Coastal the spread of toxic wastes, contamination of water supplies, and loss of infrastructure due to the rising sea level have affected cities and towns in Azerbaijan alone.
Now in Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan new development projects are required to carry environmental insurance. In the past the Kazakh government fined polluters but now it is prepared to make sue that criminal charges are brought against the management of the enterprises, which break the country’s environmental protection legislation.
The lack of regional cooperation among the Caspian Sea countries continued to undermine individual state efforts to protect the sea and surrounding region.
*Sustainable Development and international economic cooperation on Jan 27,1996:Representatives of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Russian Federation to the United Nations secretary-General.
The talks were held in Tehran about:
1) The problems of the legal status and regime of the Caspian Sea, 2) Mutual relations between the coastal states in the Caspian Sea region.
3) The strategic interests in the Caspian Sea.
4) All issues relating to the Caspian Sea.
5) The future cooperation among the Caspian coastal states.
Joint Russian–Iranian Statement on the Caspian Sea.
Oil Boom puts Caspian Sea ecosystem at risk
Caucasus Environment Outlook
Caspian World Kazakhstan
Caspian Sea Region: Environmental Issues.
Saving Caspian Sea
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