The state of the Aral Sea in Central Asia has appalled the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who termed it as one of the planet's most shocking environmental disasters.
Ban Ki-Moon toured Aral Sea, once the world's fourth-largest lake, by helicopter as part of a visit to the five countries of former Soviet Central Asia.
"On the pier, I wasn't seeing anything, I could see only a graveyard of ships. It is clearly one of the worst disasters, environmental disasters of the world. I was so shocked," he said.
Ban Ki-Moon, who was on his six-day trip through the region called on the countries' leaders to set aside rivalries to cooperate on repairing some of the damage, reports the Telegraph.
"I urge all the leaders to sit down together and try to find the solutions," he said assuring United Nations support.
Uzbek officials complained Ban Ki-Moon that dam projects in Tajikistan would severely reduce the amount of water flowing into Uzbekistan.
It has been reported that the sea, which has shrunk by 90 percent has ruined the once-robust fishing economy and left fishing trawlers stranded in sandy wastelands.
There are reports that the sea shrank largely due to a Soviet project to boost cotton production in the arid region and its evaporation has left layers of highly salted sand, which winds carry as far away as Scandinavia and Japan, and which plague local people with health troubles.