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The Aral Sea was once the world’s fourth largest lake. But for decades the rivers that feed it have been diverted for irrigation. As a result, the huge body of water between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan has steadily shrunk and is now only 10 percent of its original volume. What remains is a desert of sand, salt and toxic dust containing pesticides, fertilizers and industrial chemicals.Sandstorms carry the dust to surrounding regions, causing widespread desertification and health problems for the local population. Scientists are searching for ways to halt this environmental catastrophe.