The ecological disaster poisoning Basra and the Mesopotamian Marshes
In Basra, a lack of clean water is making people ill. Locals are desperate and rioting. During the summer of 2018, over 150,000 cases of water poisoning were recorded in Iraq’s second city, where the Tigris and Euphrates meet. The canals of Basra, once known as the Venice of the East, are in a shocking state.
An RTD crew travels upstream, to the Mesopotamian Marshes. Once one of the world's largest wetlands and home to migrating birds and herds of buffalo, their restoration after Saddam Hussein is now under threat.
The founders of Nature Iraq, the country’s only environmental NGO, explain the deep-seated causes of the disaster. Dr Azzam Alwash, an engineer, started Nature Iraq to save his beloved marshes. He opens up about the personal cost of his mission impossible but will he succeed in securing his country’s water supply in the face of climate change?
The authorities are now engaged in a race against time: they have just months to solve an ecological crisis that has been building up for years.