7 May 2021.
More than one hundred and seventy seals were washed up dead over the shores of Caspian Sea in Russia. Experts believe that the seals might have died due to industrial pollution or might have got caught in the nets.
- Caspian Sea is the largest inland water body in the world. It is bounded by five countries namely Kazakhstan, Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan.
- The seals in the Caspian Sea have suffered from industrial pollution and overhunting.
- The number of seals in the Caspian Sea have reduced from one million in twentieth century to 70,000.
- In December 2020, more than 300 endangered seals died on the Dagestan’s region of Caspian sea.
- Apart from industrial pollution, extraction of oil and natural gas pose serious threats to many species in the Caspian. In fact, the sea itself is at risk.
- The sea is shrinking in measures of centimetres.
- The increased evaporation of the sea and loss of ice in winter is to accelerate the losses. Dead Zones are emerging in the sea in deeper parts.
- The shrinking of Caspian Sea will affect the ecosystems in the region. The Shipping routes will be greatly affected. Famous wetlands will disappear, fishing grounds will be lost, international tensions in sharing he waters for fishing might increase, the winter ice might completely vanish.
- The United Nations Environment Programme says that the Caspian Sea is suffering from huge pollution. This includes the following:
- Offshore Oil fields
- Radioactive waste from Nuclear power plants
- Industrial Waste introduced by Volga river, Volga is the longest river in Europe. It is located in Russia.
- The Tehran Convention entered into force in 2006.
- It was signed by all the five Caspian bordering countries such as Iran, Russia, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan.
- It was the first legally binding instrument signed by the Caspian states.
- It lays down requirements and for environmental protection in the Caspian Sea.
- The Caspian Summit, 2018 was held in Aktau.
- The Convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea was signed at the summit. It was signed by all the five Caspian countries.
- The summit provides jurisdiction over 24 km of territorial waters to each country.
- Additionally, an exclusive fishing rights on the surface was also granted. The rest is international waters.