According to a World Health Organisation report, a 1/3 of the world’s population lives without access to proper toilets. This causes natural water reserves to become contaminated with human waste, which in turn causes disease. India is just one of many countries in which rural populations suffer acutely as a direct result of poor, or no sanitation.
For three decades, the picturesque and fertile land in the foothills of Italy’s Mount Vesuvius has been contaminated by toxic waste, illegally buried and burnt here by mafia gangs. The resulting pollution caused a dramatic increase in cancer among the local population, including children.
The city of Flint in Michigan, US, has a water crisis. It’s been going on since 2014 when residents were switched to a cheaper supply but it took a year before the authorities admitted there was a problem. As a result, thousands were exposed to lead poisoning, carcinogenic chemicals and legionella bacteria.
Lake Baikal in Russian Siberia is the oldest and deepest lake on the planet. It contains 20% of the world’s fresh water. Its incredibly clear and clean water is home to hundreds of unique animal and plant species. Biologists, however, are increasingly concerned about the region’s ecology. James Brown goes back to Baikal 7 years after his last visit to see how the lake has changed.
The Indian state of Punjab is undergoing a severe water crisis. Once an agricultural leader in India, it’s now turning into a desert. Farmers and other rural dwellers are going bankrupt over the need to pay for water delivered from other regions. In this drastic situation, the number of suicides has skyrocketed.
14 women on a sail boat, but this is no pleasure cruise. The Sea Dragon is taking them on a scientific expedition to the Caribbean. On a mission to explore the extent of plastic pollution in the Atlantic Ocean, their main focus is the proliferation of micro-plastic that poisons fish and can harm humans. They also hope to educate children about how to reduce the use of plastic.
Coral reefs are highly important in marine ecosystems. They provide food, shelter and a breeding ground for a wide variety of fish and sea organisms. However, their own well-being has recently come under threat. A disease known as the “white plague” has been wreaking havoc in coral reefs the world over.
All across the USA people are rising up against fracking. They don’t believe the process is safe and think it causes wide-scale land contamination. Ever more extraction sites are being approved and developed with new plant being built in once idyllic landscapes.