30.06.2010 - UNESCO Office in Tashkent

Can a blue dye help save the Aral Sea?

©UNESCO

Indigo. The word may sound exotic but this herb permeates our daily lives.
You may even be wearing it. Many of us had our first encounter with
indigo long ago, the day we bought our first pair of blue jeans. Indigo is
the most ancient natural dye in the world. Four thousand years ago, the
leaves of Indigofera tinctoria were already being used to dye cloth blue.
Today, natural methods of producing indigo dye have given way to chemical
manufacturing processes in all but southeast India.
If a UNESCO project in Uzbekistan goes ahead as planned, however, natural
indigo may soon also be produced in one of the most ecologically ravaged
regions in the world, the Aral Sea Basin.

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