I’ve been meaning to watch Andrew Marr’s Megacities since it was first shown on TV in 2011. Yes, I’m a bit slow of the mark here! My Uncle actually recommended it to me, as he found it so fascinating. It is truly absorbing content – Andrew explains how now the majority of the world’s population live in cities and not in the countryside. This is only set to increase as time goes on and he discusses the global challenges we face as a human race because of this. I was really interested to see that he covers the problem of waste.
He highlighted how in Dhaka, Bangladesh the poorest people pick over the rubbish tips for anything that they can sell on. As in so many other places, the city just cannot cope with the amount of waste being produced.
He also covered the problem of waste in Mexico City which was just horrific! The canals that were designed to take the run off from the rainy season, are literally thick with rubbish – mostly plastic waste, dead animals but sometimes they even find dead bodies :S As Andrew himself puts it;
“The modern mania for throwing things away reaches its inevitable consequence here, clogged and festering. Almost everything gets thrown in here.”
The boat that he was lowered into the ‘water’ in is instantly becalmed, as the waste has solidified. They actually have to send a diver into to clear the filters – he risks life and limb. On this particular occasion he finds a tree is blocking the system and is able to remove it.
I always find documentaries like this to be really eye-opening and I particularly enjoyed this 3-part series. It’s as relevant today as it was 5 years ago and it doesn’t feel like the world is collectively doing anything significant to help tackle these issues.