On November 26, 2022, OISCA talk event on global environment took place in Saitama.
The event was chaired by Dr. Takehito Ota, Professor Emeritus of the University of Tokyo, and Dr. Satoshi Togashi, Desert Greening Specialist, who belongs to OISCA College, and Mr. Hiroyuki Cho, Director for Research and Study, OISCA International Cooperation Division, acted as commentators, and was attended by 215 people, including on line.
Mr. Cho, looking back on OISCA’s greening activities in Indonesia, Thailand and other countries, identified 3 important elements (long-term continuity, participation of local residents, and technology and knowhow) common to OISCA’sgreening activities. While Dr. Togashi, for his part, discussed greening activities that he has conducted since 2001 in Inner Mongolia, China and based on his past experience in Inner Mongolia, presented “the Aral Sea Desert Greening Project” in Uzbekistan, Central Asia.
The Aral Sea, a salt lake straddling Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, was once the fourth largest lake in the world, but dried up to one-tenth its former size in just a century. The town and villages have been hit by and mixed with salt from the bottom of the lake, which dried up due to the irrigation agricultural water supply project carried out by the former government of the Soviet Union in the 1960s. The fishing industry has been devastated, buildings are filled with sand and health hazards have increased.
Confronted with this situation, the Uzbekistan government and international organizations have implemented various measures to improve the environmental problems. OISCA, in cooperation with the local partner, Karakalpakstan Institute of Agriculture and Agrotechnology, has decided on a project of greening the Aral Sea desert.
Prior to the talk event in Saitama, Dr. Togashi and Mr. Cho visited Uzbekistan to conduct onsite studies. Through their observation, it was confirmed that experience obtained in the desert greening project of Inner Mongolia would be fully utilized in Uzbekistan. The project in Uzbekistan calls for cultivating cistanche deserticola and planting Saxaul which has similar weather conditions. OISCA has set a goal of greening 40,000 hectares of the Aral Sea desert.