About half of that sea is ‘in’ Uzbekistan, which gets the worst of the health hazards, as toxic dust from the former seabed mostly flies south to the province of Karakalpakstan.
The story of the Aral is rather simple. It was fed by the Syr Darya and the Amu Darya, both of which were siphoned from for irrigation extensively during the Soviet era, so that eventually no water at all from either river fed the sea. The balance of the Aral was precarious enough, fed rather weakly, evaporating at roughly the rate it was fed. But it was a great place for sturgeon and a number of other interesting sea creatures.
Soon we shall sea how a tourism functionary makes the best of this rather sad, seemingly uninviting region.