The great rivers of the Tigris and Euphrates are the reason why ancient civilizations bloomed in the region of Mesopotamia. Basra sits on Shatt al-Arab, at the confluence of those waterways. The port city that gave rise to the tales of Sinbad is experiencing a terrible water crisis today, with tens of thousands of people being poisoned each summer. Last year, there was rioting as people demanded water they could safely drink.
The crisis is decades in the making. Cities and businesses upstream have been growing, and so has the amount of sewage they dump into the Tigris and Euphrates. Then there are dams in neighboring countries, primarily Turkey, which have increasingly restricted the flow. Brine gets carried upstream from the Persian Gulf, reaching Basra. And some of its canals are now clogged with litter, including refuse from residents of the city who apparently no longer see Basra as a home they should care about.
Join RTD in its journey with Dr Azzam Alwash, co-founder of environmental group Nature Iraq. He returned to Iraq after living for decades in the US to go on a quest to resolve the water crisis and see the restoration of the beautiful Mesopotamian Marshes, a unique area near Basra that was made to suffer drought under Saddam Hussein in an act of political punishment against its inhabitants.
(Source: Russia Today)