The Constitution of Uzbekistan ensures consideration of environmental issues at state level policy. It says: "The soil, mineral resources, water, flora and fauna, and other natural resources are considered as national wealth, and should be exploited rationally for they are protected by the state". Huge natural sources stirring dust up in the atmosphere are commonplace in Uzbekistan, located in an arid zone, such as sandstorms in the Kara Kum and Kyzyl Kum deserts. The dried up Aral Sea complicates the situation. Another serious hazard is the degradation of soil resulting from industrial and household waste. The rapid utilization of mineral resources and mining activities has its negative effects; the degradation of land used for agriculture and huge masses of wastes.
Atmosphere protection. Like in any other industrial states, various industrial plants, traffic, heating and electrical stations also pollute the atmosphere in Uzbekistan. The pollution of the atmosphere is a direct and serious threat to the environment. Environmental problems could be characterized in three dimensions such as: global, regional and national. In Uzbekistan, the percentage of air pollution varies on the basis of particular indicators. The air pollution in Chirchik, Akhangaran and Ferghana Valley is further worsened by the presence of big industries and a lot of traffic. The local plants lack proper anti-pollution devices.
The percentage of air pollution is particularly high in Almalyk, Ferghana, Bekabad, Andijan, Akhangaran, Angren, Tashkent, Samarkand, and Navoi. The main sources of pollution are industrial plants, chemicals used in agriculture, and the growing number of traffic. For instance, traffic accounts for 80 percent of air pollution in Tashkent.
Annually millions of tons of hazardous gas and contaminants are released into the air. Air pollution is just one side of the coin. Another issue is that, this contamination has a harmful impact on the population's health, conditions of the soil, water, flora and fauna, respectively.
Considering the importance of the issue, the government of Uzbekistan has passed a number of laws on environmental protection. Also, currently it has also been carrying out various programs to raise public awareness, employ modern technologies in manufacturing so that they cause less or no damage to the environment.
Protection of water resources. Because of its dry climate and landlocked position, Uzbekistan has always had water problems. Exploring new agricultural areas and widening the irrigation system have decreased water resources. As a result, the country is now facing a number of problems of economic, social and ecological importance, including a lack of drinking water. In the Aral Sea area and also in Bukhara oasis, valleys of Mirzachul and Ferghana the salinity of water is very high. In the Chirchik river heavy metal concentration is rather high.
Since I960 the biggest water basin in Central Asia - the Aral Sea has been decreasing. Water has declined significantly leaving vast sandy and saline ground behind. The ecological and socio-economic problems of the Aral Sea have gone well beyond national boundaries and become regional issues but only recently some international organizations have started dealing with this problem. The Intergovernmental Council on the Aral Sea problem and International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea were established.
Applying strict irrigation patterns in agriculture could be assessed as a practical step towards increasing water supply to the Aral Sea. The volume of water used per hectare is less than before.
Apart from tackling the Aral Sea problem, the government is putting a maximum effort to rationally utilize ground and surface water resources and protect them. Particular attention is being paid to the quality of rivers, small rivers, and other water resources. Recycling of the used water is also an issue of a great importance. For this purpose special installations are built for recycling the used water. The Government of Uzbekistan is also paying particular attention to provide dwellers of cities, districts and villages with proper drinking water.
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