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Environment
The degradation of Kazakhstanâ's environment began during the Soviet Union era. Between the years of 1949 and 1991, the Soviet government performed around 70% of all its nuclear testing in Kazakhstan, exposing 1 million inhabitants and tens of thousands of miles of land to harmful radiation.1 Urban pollution is also a major problem due to harmful emissions from uranium-processing mills.2 Another environmental crisis facing the country is the shrinking of the Aral Sea, which has shrunk nearly in half since the 1960â's.3 The shrinking of the sea and the resulting environmental damage is reportedly responsible for a variety of health problems in the country, including respiratory illnesses and parasites.4, 5

Show References
1http://naturvernforbundet.no/international/environmental-issues-in-kazakhstan/category936.html
2 Ibid
3 http://naturvernforbundet.no/international/environmental-issues-in-kazakhstan/category936.html
4 Ibid
5 http://www.columbia.edu/~tmt2120/introduction.htm
Hide References

Kazakhstan News

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Geography

Central Asia, northwest of China; a small portion west of the Ural (Zhayyq) River in eastern-most Europe
Area

Total 2,724,900 sq km
Land 2,699,700 sq km
Water 25,200 sq km

Climate

continental, cold winters and hot summers, arid and semiarid
Natural Resources

major deposits of petroleum, natural gas, coal, iron ore, manganese, chrome ore, nickel, cobalt, copper, molybdenum, lead, zinc, bauxite, gold, uranium ;
Natural Hazards

earthquakes in the south; mudslides around Almaty
Current Environmental Issues

radioactive or toxic chemical sites associated with former defense industries and test ranges scattered throughout the country pose health risks for humans and animals; industrial pollution is severe in some cities; because the two main rivers that flowed into the Aral Sea have been diverted for irrigation, it is drying up and leaving behind a harmful layer of chemical pesticides and natural salts; these substances are then picked up by the wind and blown into noxious dust storms; pollution in the Caspian Sea; soil pollution from overuse of agricultural chemicals and salination from poor infrastructure and wasteful irrigation practices

Demographics

Nationality
Kazakhstani
Population
17,736,896 (July 2013 est.)
Ethnic Groups
Languages
Religions

Finances

Kazakhstan, geographically the largest of the former Soviet republics, excluding Russia, possesses enormous fossil fuel reserves and plentiful supplies of other minerals and metals, such as uranium, copper, and zinc. It also has a large agricultural sector featuring livestock and grain. In 2002 Kazakhstan became the first country in the former Soviet Union to receive an investment-grade credit rating. Extractive industries have been and will continue to be the engine of Kazakhstan's growth, although the country is aggressively pursuing diversification strategies. Landlocked, with restricted access to the high seas, Kazakhstan relies on its neighbors to export its products, especially oil ...See More and grain. Although its Caspian Sea ports, pipelines, and rail lines carrying oil have been upgraded, civil aviation and roadways continue to need attention. Telecoms are improving, but require considerable investment, as does the information technology base. Supply and distribution of electricity can be erratic because of regional dependencies, but the country is moving forward with plans to improve reliability of electricity and gas supply to its population. At the end of 2007, global financial markets froze up and the loss of capital inflows to Kazakhstani banks caused a credit crunch. The subsequent and sharp fall of oil and commodity prices in 2008 aggravated the economic situation, and Kazakhstan plunged into recession. While the global financial crisis took a significant toll on Kazakhstan's economy, it has rebounded well, helped by prudent government measures. GDP increased 7.5% year-on-year in 2011, and 5.0% in 2012. Rising commodity prices have helped the recovery. Despite solid macroeconomic indicators, the government realizes that its economy suffers from an overreliance on oil and extractive industries, the so-called "Dutch disease." In response, Kazakhstan has embarked on an ambitious diversification program, aimed at developing targeted sectors like transport, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, petrochemicals and food processing. In 2010 Kazakhstan joined the Belarus-Kazakhstan-Russia Customs Union in an effort to boost foreign investment and improve trade relationships and is planning to accede to the World Trade Organization in 2013. Show Less ;
GDP Purchasing Power Parity

$235.6 billion (2012 est.); $224.3 billion (2011 est.); $208.6 billion (2010 est.)
Gross National Saving

28.3% of GDP (2012 est.); 30.5% of GDP (2011 est.); 28% of GDP (2010 est.)
Agriculture Products

grain (mostly spring wheat and barley), potatoes, vegetables, melons; livestock
Industries

oil, coal, iron ore, manganese, chromite, lead, zinc, copper, titanium, bauxite, gold, silver, phosphates, sulfur, uranium, iron and steel; tractors and other agricultural machinery, electric motors, construction materials