Kenderli bay was next on this quest. Together with Mokhtar, his wife and kid we went by Gazelle (Russian van) to Kenderli bay (60 km) along the sea coast.
Here, the terrain and the wind were ideal for the Whike! Cycling there was hours of full pleasure! Counterballancing the strong lateral winds required contortionist strikes, using your body weight, breaks and the sail control wire.
Many people interested wanted to try.
Along my trip, I have noticed some very salient environmental problems affecting the people of the Mangistau area:
Drinking water and agricultural water is the number one problem. As everywhere in central Asia, with the exception of Astana, the only infrastructure available have been set up during Soviet times.
The main water stream is the 'technical' water pipe from the Volga. It is enriched on the way with artesian water, and filtered at the entrance of city distribution. Built in the 1960th the MAEK nuclear power plant of Aktau with a battery oh huge 'Samovars' that distillate the water pumped in the Caspian lake. These 50 year old nuclear samovars work at full regime to provide Aktau with their main source of drinking water.
This area hosts hazardous radioactive muds that are associated to old oil extraction and mining.
Hazardous waste, trash, plastic bags and bottles are a huge and awful problem. Everywhere present in the Caspian lake and in the steppes are away from the roads.
Anything can be toxic when one is chronically exposed, even sand.
The long-term encounter of the fine dust from the calcareous desert, almost like talc powder, is responsible for the high prevalence of tuberculosis.
As there is almost no leguminous production, the population suffers from avitaminosis, a long-term vitamin deficiency. Traditionally, the main source of vitamins resided in the Camel milk 'Chubat', which is a very rich nutrient. By having switched to a more urban life, the habit of drinking 'Chubat' has progressively been abandoned.
Agressive consumerism patters as that of big jeeps, piggy bags and mobile telephones are commodities destroying everything, from traditions, social network and the environment. People rather cut their food intake in order to continue wearing addidas clothing and fuel their monstrous jeeps. This urban social structure does not help their vitamin deficiency.
Till next time!