Washing hangs from a line outside a run-down housing complex. The town is within the catchment area of the Amu Darya river delta that once supported an extensive irrigation based agricultural system. However, under the Soviets water use for agriculture became unsustainable and induced the shrinking of the Aral Sea until the salts and minerals in its remaining waters were so concentrated that it could no longer support life destroying the once vibrant fishing industry. Futhermore, fertilisers, heavily used in farming, had entered the sea in run-off. These became concentrated in the seabed but were not especially problematic until the exposure of that seabed as the Aral Sea regressed led to these toxins being released into the air where they now cause havoc with the population's health.