Caspian Sea 2011
State of the Environment of the Caspian Sea
swaps between the two countries – with Iran pur- chasing oil from Kazakhstan for domestic refining and consumption, and then selling, in exchange, compensatory quantities of Iranian oil to the world market from its Persian Gulf ports. In 2005, Irani- an oil swaps with Kazakhstan reached 1.4 million tonnes, rising in 2006 to 4.2 million tonnes (CEP 2007a). However, due to U.N. sanctions against Iran in June 2010, such oil swaps have momentar- ily come to a halt. Plans for additional pipelines between the Caspian and Asia are emerging with negotiations underway to pump Kazakh Caspian oil to energy-hungry markets in Asia. 4.3. External inputs: run offs The Caspian Sea is one of the most important endorheic basins or closed drainage systems in the world and, given its landlocked nature, no flow-through exists to aid self-purification. Pol- lutants entering the water body are retained, having no means by which they can be removed. Therefore, it is vital to fully understand levels of contaminant inputs, and thus choose the best- informed and most cost-effective means to miti- gate or alleviate pollution. River inflows are a key factor in the Caspian Basin; this reinforces the
importance of quantifying riverine fluxes of pol- lutants. The main sectors contributing to these pollution fluxes are agriculture, industry - includ- ing the oil and gas sector - and urbanization. This section is based on the first and second Transboundary Diagnostic Analyses, Rapid As- sessment of Pollution Sources studies performed by all littoral states (2007), the Baseline Inventory Report: Land-based point and non-point pollu- tion sources in the Caspian Coastal Zone (2008) and the Regional Pollution Action Plan (2009). These documents analyse the quantities and types of contaminants in each littoral state arising from various land-based sources, including wastewa- ter treatment plants, food production, oil, metal and other manufacturing industries plus munici- pal sewage. Data referring to the Biological Oxy- gen Demand load (BOD), total suspended solids (TSS), total nitrogen and total phosphorus levels were available for all five of the Caspian countries through the Baseline Inventory Report. However, much of this data was of uncertain quality and could not be verified independently from national records: it was therefore impossible to compare various sets of data. Also, it was not possible to assess in detail river pollution loads.
Table 1: Pollution loads from rivers, municipalities and industry in the littoral countries.
BOD t/y 36,000
49,500 68,000 28,200 13,200
210 600 100 100
Note: BOD = Biological Oxygen Demand
Source: Transboundary Diagnostic Analyses for the Caspian Sea, 2002
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