Central Asia is characterized by strong vulnerability to various natural hazards such as floods, earthquakes, landslides and mudslides.
Legacy uranium and rare earth mining sites with both radioactive mining and processing waste (tailings ponds, dumps) show a quasi-continuous release of dissolved and particulate radioactive contamination into the hydrographic net, with a particularly strong increase during seasonal floods. Moreover, in seismically active areas and/or after extreme weather events landslides and mudslides lead to a sudden, very strong input of pollutants into rivers. On one hand, these discharges of radioactive pollutants into rivers cause national problems due to the large-scale contamination of agricultural areas. At the same time the uncontrolled discharge of radioactive contamination causes cross-border tensions and conflicts, as all mining sites are located in the catchment area of the Syr-Darya and Amu-Darya from which they drain into Lake Aral.
A cross-border monitoring and data/information management system may help to manage and mitigate these risks.