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Environmental and public health monitoring in Aral Sea region

#K-2203


Ecological monitoring of the Aral Sea region and development of the recovery recommendations for the local population

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-EHS/Environmental Health and Safety/Environment
  • ENV-MRA/Modelling and Risk Assessment/Environment
  • CHE-ANL/Analytical Chemistry/Chemistry

Status
3 Approved without Funding

Registration date
21.07.2015

Leading Institute
al-Farabi Kazakh National University, Kazakstan, Almaty

Supporting institutes

  • Institute of Physiology of Human and Animals, Kazakstan, Almaty

Collaborators

  • Awareness Center, Denmark, Roskilde

Project summary

The Project aim: A new comprehensive methodology of studying the objects of the Aral Sea region, based on modern and highly sensitive methods, will be developed as a part of this project.

Impact of the project on the progress in this area. Creating a new research methodology of the environmental situation of the territory will develop promising methods of analysis of environmental toxicants. Results from screening of the environment, quantitative analysis of toxicants, and mapping of pollution will allow the assessing of risks for the local population and recommendations for improvement of living conditions.

Current Status. . Throughout its history, the Aral Sea has repeatedly disappeared and filled again. It was scientifically confirmed that for centuries there were 9 cycles of rebirth of the Aral Sea. The level of residual origin lake depends on the balance of flowing rivers and precipitation on the one hand, and on the leakage and evaporation - on the other. Reduction in water content of flowing rivers invariably leads to a decrease in its level, which is what happened to the Aral Sea after a man increasingly began to use increasing amounts of water of the rivers of SyrDarya, AmuDarya and their tributaries. Resolution of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated on January 18, 1992 "On urgent measures to radically transform the living conditions of the population of the Aral Sea region" stated that the Kazakh side is an ecological disaster zone. Intensive desertification and sustainable irreversible degradation of the environment, worsening living conditions and increased morbidity lead to new environmental and socio-economic problems that require legislative decisions and legal regulation of social protection of the population living in environmentally unfavourable areas.

Kazakhstan and the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFSA) have done the work on Saving the Aral Sea, positive results were obtained: the northern part of the Aral Sea is actively restored. The eastern part of the sea is almost completely drained. About 60 hectares of land is currently planted by haloxylon, delaying dust streams. The activity of fish processing plants are also restored due to remediation of fisheries. However, despite the intensified work on the recovery, drying of the Aral Sea is an urgent problem, which caused a huge number of environmental consequences differing in their specificity and scope. Currently, there are no data on integrated environmental state of the Aral Sea region, pollution by toxic chemicals is one of the priority issues in the region since ecological balance has undergone significant violations and poses a threat to the normal life of the population of the Aral Sea region.

Impact of the project on the progress in this area. Creating a new research methodology of the environmental situation of the territory will develop promising methods of analysis of toxicants. Obtained results of screening of the environment, the quantitative analysis of toxicants, maps of the pollution will allow to assess the risks for the local population and to make recommendations for improvement of living conditions.

Field of activity. The project will be carried out with the following activities:

-development of new and improvement of existing methods for screening of toxicants in food products and environmental samples by highly sensitive techniques;

- drawing the maps of isoconcentrations of the distribution of toxicants in the environment and maps of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems in project area using GIS technology;

- offering the targeted measures to improve public health in crisis Aral Sea region;

- conducting training courses for environmentalists of the Aral Sea region;

- proposing guidelines for use in the provincial Department of Health and in various medical organizations studied the Aral Sea region.

Technical Approach and Methodology. During the implementation of the project the most modern technical approaches and methodologies will be used: gas chromatography with mass spectrometric detection with a reliable quantification of toxicants in the environment; solid phase microextraction (SPME) for automation, saving time and costs on site sample preparation and analysis; sampling in free space for the rapid analysis of samples; high performance liquid chromatography with diode-array and amperometric detection for volatile and thermally unstable compounds and quality control; inductively coupled plasma with mass spectrometry (ICP/MS) for fast and sensitive elemental analysis; IR spectrometry for rapid characterization and comparing the samples.


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