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Friday, July 02, 2004

Sea Change

Cyndy links to a BBC article about the shrinking Aral Sea and the devastating effects it is having on the people of Uzbekistan, all to serve the demands of the global economy for cotton.

We asked him whether it was wise to continue growing cotton, given the way it soaks up all the water that used to flow into the Aral Sea and the new evidence of health risks from the chemicals sprayed on the crops.

His response was defiant: cotton is Uzbekistan's biggest export earner.

Mr Hamraev said that stopping the growing of cotton would make public health worse and leave stomachs empty. "There's no alternative," he said.

So the cotton fields are busy, the sea shrinks and the hospitals struggle to cope.

Rusting boat grounded kilometers from the sea