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Turkmenistan to plant huge forest in Aral Sea region
by Staff Writers
Ashgabat (AFP) July 31, 2012


Turkmenistan is allocating tens of millions of dollars to plant trees in a region neighbouring the stricken Aral Sea, state newspaper Neutral Turkmenistan said Tuesday.

"A project has been developed to target environmental problems in the Aral Sea zone, which entails planting greenery over 20,000 hectares on the eastern bank of the Sarygamysh lake," the newspaper said.

The Sarygamysh lake in northern Turkmenistan lies several hundred kilometres to the south of the Aral Sea, a body of water that was almost totally wiped out after rivers feeding it were diverted for irrigating cotton in Soviet times.

Turkmenistan's President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has already approved the project, saying "tens of millions of dollars have been allocated" to improving the environment in the Dashoguz province, the newspaper said.

The dramatically disappearing sea on the border of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan has been replaced by salty desert in one of the world's biggest environmental disasters which affects millions of people in the region.

The isolated Central Asian state of Turkmenistan will prevent desertification and fight strong winds from the Aral Sea" by planting a "large forest zone" of deciduous trees and shrubs, the newspaper said.

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