Central Asian countries are strengthening cooperation in environmental and sustainable development sectors. The countries are currently focusing on combating desertification, preserving biodiversity and restoring the Aral Sea.

In May, the Kazakhstan National Geographic Society will organize a trip to the sea with leading hydrobiologists, historians and cartographers as part of the expedition. The scientists plan to explore the North and South Aral Seas in the upcoming trip as previously the studies were focused on the water condition in the Northern part of the sea, which is called the Small Aral Sea.

NURZHAN ALGASHOV, SPOKESPERSON, QAZAQ GEOGRAPHY:

 - One of the major tasks is to explore water in both North and South Aral Seas, and determine acidity, water pollution and the presence of phytoplankton. Hydrobiologists of Nazarbayev University joined us on the expedition. This project is not related to Kazakhstan alone, it can influence the situation in Central Asia in general.

Meanwhile, Kyrgyzstan’s environmentalists are taking measures aimed at forests conservation. Reduction of forests leads to a disruption of the natural balance, shrinking rivers, disappearance of rare plant species and reduction in the number of animals living in mountainous areas. A century and a half ago the overall forest area made up 15% of the total area of Kyrgyzstan. It was enough to ensure sustainability of the local ecosystem that could provide comfortable living conditions for people, animals and plants.

EMIL SHUKUROV, KYRGYZ ENVIRONMENTALIST:

 - Improvement of forests’ conditions will lead to improvement of pastures’ conditions. In turn, it will bring improvements in the conditions of all water reservoirs, rivers and lakes. Thus, Kyrgyzstan will restore its environmental balance.

Activists held the first republican forum “Mountain Forest” in Bishkek in order to draw attention to this environmental issue. The event was held as part of Kyrgyzstan’s “Forty Steps Towards a New Era” state program.

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