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tv   Our World  BBC News  December 28, 2016 9:30pm-10:01pm GMT

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hello. this is bbc news — the headlines: us secretary of state has shown frustration with israel in a speech. he said decisions to condemn frustration with israel in a speech. he said decisions to condeanewish settle m e nts he said decisions to condeanewish settlements on occupied blinds looking like a young black cloud coming yonder, it'll soon go down? i see what it's doing land was underlining a two state solution. benjamin netanyahu said john kerry was biased against his country. he said america have obsessively dealt with settlements. german prosecutors have detained a ao—year—old tunisian man in connection with the truck attack that killed 12 and injured nearly 50 at a christmas market in berlin. they say his number was found on the phone of amorous amre, the man who drove the truck. russian media are suggesting that
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there have been other flight recorders found in the black sea. that is one story we will have more detail on the website, but in a moment... now, our world — killing the ganges. the ganges is one of the greatest rivers in the world, but it is in trouble. pollution on a vast scale has turned its sacred waters into a stinking and lethal cocktail. oh, god. there's industrial waste... what are you stopping? why are you stopping? the sewage from a50 million people. all the while, so much water is being taken out that large stretches of the river don't
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flow for months. the indian prime minister has staked his political reputation on cleaning it up. but is the ganges, india's sacred river, still being killed by pollution? dawn breaks over the himalayas. and the glacier that is the source of the ganges. a small stream emerges from a cave in the ice. gomukh, the cow's mouth,
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they call it, one of the most sacred sites in all hinduism. as the river descends from the mountains, it gathers pace. it is known as ganga mata, mother ganges, and it is an apt name. as i will be discovering on this incredible journey, the ganges has nurtured and supported the rise of india's great civilisation, but this mighty river is under serious threat. here in the himalayas, the water looks pristine, crystal clear. take a look at this. now, that looks good enough to drink, but actually the studies show that even here, the waters of the ganges
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are becoming increasingly polluted. as we travelled down from the source, the issues become more and more pronounced. in the holy city of rishikesh, an ancient fire ritual begins. it is performed in celebration and in worship of mother ganges. but there is an irony here. while hundreds of millions of indians revere the river, they are also pouring their waste into it. it is a burden the ganges simply cannot bear any more. ganges is not mere water to indians, it is the mother, a goddess. sitting on the banks of ganga, i can tell you that before we take
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a bath in the ganga, i think the time has come we give a bath to ganga. people think ganga can take care of my sins, can take care of anything. and they forget, yes, ganga can take care of my sins, but not the pollution. to me, if ganga dies, india dies. if ganga thrives, india thrives. cleaning the river has become symbolic of an even bigger project. india's effort to lift its people out of poverty and become a modern world power. when narendra modi won a landslide victory two years ago, one of the first commitments he made was to tackle pollution in the river. he has promised serious money, he said he will spend more than $3 billion over the next five years on his clean ganga mission. but delivering on his promise may be one of his greatest challenges,
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because if anything speaks of the failure of governance in india, it is the abuse this great river is suffering. there is no better example than kanpur, 700 kilometres from rishikesh and the centre of india's giant leather industry. india is one of the biggest producers of leather in the world. most of the leather produced here is exported, much of it, to europe and the us. but the leather industry is very polluting. toxic chemicals are used to soften and preserve the hides, and many are powerful carcinogens. a local environmental campaigner takes me on a tour of what he claims is india's dirtiest town. indian politicians have been talking about cleaning up the ganges for three decades. but he says pollution
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has only got worse. take a look at this, i have to say, it really, really smells here. these poor people have to live beside this drain. looking down at the water, you can see it is black with effluent. gags. it really smells. there is a tanneryjust there. oh, god. it is really powerful! what kind of waste do we have in here? highly chemicalised and toxic water. waste water coming from the tanneries. and you know, tanneries use a variety of chemicals, hundreds of chemicals.
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including dangerous ones like chromium are used to soften the leather, don't they? yes, heavy metals and pesticides as well. he says this drain, like many, many others, still pours, untreated into the ganges. it is a shocking indictment of the efforts to clean the river. this is where that awful drain, which you can still smell here, that drain runs down into the ganges. it is very disheartening. when i started 20 years back i used to see the river which was in a much better position. i have only seen the situation worsening from bad to worse, and you can see the pollution now, it is killing the town. and you can see the pollution now, it is killing the river.
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the man in charge of the prime minister's clean ganga mission admits deep problems need to be tackled, but he says progress is being made. they didn't use the law to bear upon the industry in a manner that was desired. why not, what was going on? you can say corruption is part of it. when we did a survey, we found there were about 444 tannery units in karpur. tannery units in kanpur. whe we saw the licences, we found there were only 267 licences. can we choose the tannery? he sent us out with a team of pollution inspectors to demonstrate that things are changing. hi, sir. pollution control. this is a bit different. this does not look so good. hello, sir. he is stopping something
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happening down there. look at these! what are you stopping? why are you stopping? who is in charge of this place? how many days have you left this? four days. there's four days of flesh? this is where they strip the flesh from the hides, and there are four days worth here. it is disgusting, you can see the flesh running down the machine there. there are huge puddles of water, which is that distinctive blue colour. this does not look so good. it is blue because there is chrome in it?
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not tidy, not much tidy. it's disgusting. he says this drain is connected to the treatment plant which isjust down here. we have to literally wade through these hides, and they are all swollen and bloated. disgusting. how do you get across? it is like walking on rubber, that is disgusting. these are untreated hides. everything seems jumbled together. you said to me that segregation and separation... it is required, but there is none here. almost 100 tanneries have been shut down, but i'm shocked that somewhere like that place is still operating. it needs some improvement.
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a lot of improvement. it was disgusting in there. we will definitely have some action. what action would you take? do you think it will be closed? i will make a recommendation. you will be saying to close this place? sure, sure. there are other pollution problems here in kanpur, the environmental campaigner has somewhere else he wants to take me. rakesh has brought me to the outflow of the main effluent treatment plant, which treats sewage and industrial waste. just take a look at this. let me remind you, this is the treated water. the government admits that the existing plant can only cope with a fraction of the waste from the tanneries. and guess where this water goes. that's right, on to the fields,
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where it goes on to 2500 hectares. the problem is notjust what is going into the river, but what is being taken out? it is relatively easy to get water here. you don't have to dig that deep. but it is pretty hard doing the digging. what they have done is they have dug a hole about 20 feet, seven metres deep. and now they have dug a tube down and they have to dig
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deeper and deeper, until the idea is, they hit the water table. they have put an electric pump into the well head. it is working and this is the water coming through. this comes from the water table around here. but essentially, this is ganges water. which is amount of water they are taking is such an important issue. that was quite interesting. i am joined by issue. that was quite interesting. i amjoined bya issue. that was quite interesting. i am joined by a man who works with the world wildlife front. how much limits are there on how much water farmers can take from wells like these. translation: there is no limit. they can use as much ground water as they like. the government doesn't charge them anything, the only cost is for the price of the diesel. so just what it costs to
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ta ke diesel. so just what it costs to take the water out, that is the only limit? but at what cost for the ganges? they can easily draw out the water from the river. so all the water from the river. so all the water farmers use water from the river. so all the water farmers use across water from the river. so all the water farmers use across these vast plains, all that water is essentially water being taken from the supplied to the ganges? yes. so you have less water in the river? translation: the more they are pumping from these wells, the more they are taking from the ganges. farmers are crucial, electoral constituency and over the years, politicians have attempted to buy their favour by offering incentives to install pumps. the result has been water intensive farming practices. ground water levels have been falling dramatically and so has the flow in some parts of the
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ganges. but work by the world wildlife front has shown it is possible to get farmers to use less water. instead of flooding whole fields, they now limit water use by using a series of dams. translation: the amount of water we use now has gone down by half. as a result, we use less water and get more profits. and the crops are also good. do you think of farmers will begin to use the water—saving measures you have begun to introduce here? translation: yes, everybody is doing it. it makes sense. we get more profits and cutout carbon emissions. a few hundred kilometres down the river we come to one of the greatest cities in all of india. have are nasty. it is one of the oldest,
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continuous occupied cities in the world. people have been living here for more than 3000 years. it is the holiest city in hinduism but is also another huge source of pollution. cleaning the river means addressing ancient practices like riverside cremation. hindus believe that being burned on a funeral pyre beside the ganges brings the ultimate
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emancipation, liberation, from the cycle of death and rebirth. it is reckoned 32,000 human corpses are cremated here each year, with up to 3oo cremated here each year, with up to 300 tonnes of half burnt human flesh released into the ganges. but it is the bodily waste of the living that is the biggest challenge here. the first ganges action plan 30 years ago, commissioned a series of huge sewage plants, but muscular infrastructure has not solved the problem. studies showjust 20 descent of the sewage produced along the ganges is treated. the rest... goes into the river. which is why faecal contamination here at varanasi is almost 150 times the safe level for bathing. it helps
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explain one of the most shocking statistics of all about india, the fa ct statistics of all about india, the fact that 300,000 children under five die each year from diarrhoea. so what is mr modi's clean ganga mission doing about it? i have come to the nerve centre of mr modi's effort to clean the ganges. as the prime minister bitten off more than he can chew? we have taken lessons from past mistakes. we are correcting it, so therefore there is tremendous focus and he is leading from the front. therefore, we are very confident we will achieve our target. but what we are not seeing as we travelled down the ganges is concrete evidence? fires will ensure
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there is a marked difference. but it isa there is a marked difference. but it is a long project. the thames, was the same, filthy 50 or 60 years ago. they also took 20 years to change the whole ecology of that. we will also achieve it. let's hope he is right, because the ganges sustains a unique ecosystem and one of the rarest animals in the world, the ganges river dolphin. what's more, they still survive in the main stretch of the river between the tanneries and the temples of varanasi. we have come down to the ganges and the hope was we might be able to spot the incredibly rare ganges dolphin. incredibly, within minutes of rising, i saw the dorsal fin of one of them, break the water.
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the challenge will be filming them. we have hired a little boat. this is it. this is sanjay, the cameraman. how difficult will it be to film the dolphins, we have seen a couple? how difficult will it be to film the dolphins, we have seen a couple7m is quite tough because they pop up suddenly. you are an expert on the dolphins, you work for the world wildlife fund and one of the programmes is to protect his rare animal, how rare is the gangetic dolphin? the gangetic dolphin is an endangered species and it is pretty rare to spot these animals. but today, there seemed to be dolphins all around. six, seven. today, there seemed to be dolphins allaround. six, seven. look. today, there seemed to be dolphins all around. six, seven. look. so big. they have the surface every two minutes or so to breed. the challenge is guessing where they are going to be. just over here. you
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also get a sense of how big they are. but after a bit, also get a sense of how big they are. but aftera bit, sanjay also get a sense of how big they are. but after a bit, sanjay gets his eye in and just look at this. are. but after a bit, sanjay gets his eye in and just look at thislj have his eye in and just look at this.” have got one. that is really good. this has been extraordinary. i never expected to see anything like as many dolphins as we have seen. it is such incredibly good news, because what it tells us is this river is capable of supporting these wonderful animals. it also shows us what is at stake and why it is so important the indian government's effo rts important the indian government's efforts to clean up this river succeed. the last stage of our
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journey takes us to the mouth of the river at kanga saga. it is feared the ganges ends its 2500 kilometre journey where it finally meets the ocean. this is another holy site. and we visit in one of the most auspicious of days. i million pilgrims have come to celebrate the goddess gana from the heavens. the indian prime minister knows he will bejudged on what indian prime minister knows he will be judged on what he achieves with the ganges. it is a test of india's ability to become a modern nation. it means tackling corruption, introducing proper regulation, as well as massive investment in waste treatment. but mr modi has a key advantage, the fact that so many
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indians want him to succeed. and if indians want him to succeed. and if india can clean up one of the dirtiest rivers in the world, who knows what else this great rising nation can achieve. the weather is set to show various parts of its personality. heavy rain and snow in the forecast but in the short term it is about frost and fog in particular. the fog has had an impact in some areas. further disruption is likely for your travel plans. some areas will enjoy some
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sunshine. around the coastal areas and for northern ireland and scotland, relatively benign. although there will be dampness across the far north—west. mild herewith tempered is in double figures. chilly in many other areas. and as we saw during the course of wednesday, where the fog sits around all day long, and it will do across central and eastern counties, temperatures will struggle to get above freezing all day. the fog reforms as we head into the evening and becomes more extensive. as we get into friday, it will start to lift into low cloud. it will be travelling over some of the hills above his ability at lower levels will be better. meanwhile, a front arrives across the north—west was joe will bring persistent and heavy rain. it will stick around and cause some problems. not as chilly as it
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has been further south. the front is still there on new year's eve, so heavy and persistent rain across the north west gradually starting to head southwards. at long last, milderair head southwards. at long last, milder air pushing into southern areas on the breeze. but only briefly because this cold front head south on new year's day. a question over how quickly it clears away. a speu over how quickly it clears away. a spell of heavy rain and backley is true and that opens the door to another shot of arctic air. the showers across scotland will turn to snow at low levels. 0nce showers across scotland will turn to snow at low levels. once the front has cleared away on new year's day, then the sun will come out. it will feel cold in that win. that is the story in the early part of next week. it will feel chilly again on monday. plenty of sunshine around after a frosty start. sleet and snow showers accumulating over high ground of northern scotland, but elsewhere where we are exposed to
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the win, there could be a dusting of snow. it will start to cloud over to watch tuesday. front is beginning to come in from the north—west. there isa come in from the north—west. there is a question over how quickly that happens, but a cloudy prospect that we head towards the middle of the week. briefly, very mild. their area of yellow pushing in. not as cold as it will be at the start of the week. what happens after that is causing the computer models some issues. the boundary between the mild and the cold is marked by thejet stream. in the northern hammer ship, various ripples of the jet stream, troughs and ridges. the behaviour of these, perhaps as far field of the pacific will have a downstream effect on the behaviour of the jet stream closer to home. at this stage, despite the conflicting sting googles from the models, the best bet after the
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milder interlude, it starts to turn cold again towards the end of next week with a renewed chance of some frost and snow. we will update you again tomorrow. this is bbc news. the headlines at ten. us—israeli relations sour, as prime minister netanyahu accuses us secretary of statejohn kerry of bias against israel over the expansion ofjewish settlements. five—time olympic champion and tour de france winner sir bradley wiggins announces his retirement from cycling, aged 36. one woman has died and several people have been injured after a series of crashes in ice and fog on the a40 in 0xfordshire. also in the next hour — health officials warn of a "middle—aged health crisis" in england. people aged between 40 and 60 are advised to change their lifestyles, as eight in 10 are overweight, inactive or drinking too much.
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harrison ford has led tributes to star wars co—star carrie fisher,
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