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tv   Black Sea Blues  BBC News  December 15, 2019 12:30am-1:01am GMT

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because of disagreements between delegates. the european union and many small island states vulnerable to climate change are pushing for more ambitious commitments on cutting carbon emissions. some of the biggest polluters, including the us, say they see no need to change their current plans. borisjohnson has visited northern england to greet new conservative mps elected in a region which is traditionally a labour party stronghold. the british prime minister praised his new mps and promised to repay the trust placed in him by people who had voted conservative for the first time in their lives. the first national rally by italy's grassroots sardines movement has seen tens of thousands of people pack into a square in rome to protest against the right wing populist party the league. they began as a flash mob but now they are in opposition to right wing movements.
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the winner of the glitter ball trophy was announced last night. kelvin and oti! a last—minute replacement after another contestant was injured, kelvin fletcher said he was honoured to have won strictly with his dance partner oti mabuse. it's such a privilege to be here. i think this show represents everything that is amazing in this country. i think the people personify what is great and it has just been an absolute privilege to... you're amazing! cheering and applause. announcer: kelvin fletcher and oti mabuse. # ain't no sunshine when she's gone...# they may not have been the judges‘ choice for champions, but tonight it was only public votes that counted and they won the viewers over. the judges described their rumba, as "sensual and romantic".
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# and she's always gone too long. # any time she goes away...# they said their samba left them speechless. # you know you make me wanna shout. ..# and called their show dance a tour de force. # hey, hey, hey, hey...# it earned them a standing ovation and rare praise from craig revel horwood. i loved every single minute of that. strictly, now more than 15 years old, remains one of tv‘s most watched shows with audiences of over 10 million — a significant achievement in an age where streaming services are increasingly attracting younger viewers. lizo mzimba, bbc news. now on bbc news, the black sea is europe's most polluted, but asjonah fisher finds out, thanks to a major international clean—up effort there are now signs that the sea is starting to recover.
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the black sea is beautiful. it is a fantastic place, there are thousands of living species in it. some of them are very unique. in europe's south—eastern corner, there is a sea that for decades served as the region's dustbin. this is now a real problem, where people are dying. fertilisers, industrial chemicals, raw sewage have flowed unchecked into the black sea. past tourist beaches, ruining fishing grounds. it would kill the black sea, people would not be swimming in it, fish would not be living it. it smells like rotten eggs. but having hit rock bottom, is europe's most polluted sea finally cleaning up its act? do you think the black sea is now on its way back?
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to understand the black sea's problems, look inland to the rivers that fill it, reaching thousands of kilometres across eastern europe. aleksandr has been monitoring the dnieper in ukraine for years.
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he is showing us what is known as blooming. it is when too many nutrients get in the water, triggering a rapid, lurid green growth of algae. outside the cities, the run—off from fertilisers used in farming is also a big part of the problem. as is untreated waste. of course, if fertilisers and waste is dumped in the rivers, it means pollution when those rivers
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then flow into the black sea. three rivers provide the bulk of the black sea's pollution. the dnieper, the dnister and the longest of them all, the danube. these women work for odessa's sanitation department,
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and test the black sea every monday. this year they advise holidaymakers not to swim through most of the peak month of august. not that it put many people off. you are not worried the water is not clean? no. and when the authorities say the water is dirty, don't swim, do you stop? are you not worried that this water is polluted and might make you sick?
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1000 kilometres away, on another very different beach. one of the black sea's most visible problems is piling up. this is batumi in georgia, a holiday resort on the sea's far eastern edge. it has grown exponentially in the last ten years. but batumi has a dirty, smelly secret, just one kilometre from its tourist beaches. so this is the main rubbish dump here in batumi. obviously it is pretty disgusting. you can see, it is full of animals scavenging through the rubbish, people as well. the big issue for here is that it is only about 300, 400 metres from this rubbish dump
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to the black sea itself. and there is a waterway which basically leads all the way down there. taking the rubbish with it. having scrambled down onto the beach, we find some locals. he has caught a fish! are you going to eat them? are you not worried that there is a rubbish dump just up the road? and this water might have come from there? a few metres away on the beach, rubbish from the dump is being washed up. so there is rubbish all along the beach, butjust to give you a sense of part of it, what it is made up of,
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there is lots of plastic bottles everywhere. that is part of a lightbulb. an inhaler. some sort of plastic brush, more medicine bottles, that looks like... and over here, lots and lots more plastic bottles. a margarine container, a shoe... really depressing and grim to see it like this. because this is just a little snapshot here, it goes all the way on in a pretty similar rate of it. poor waste management and rubbish dump along rivers have turned the black sea into europe's most polluted. the latest survey shows a concentration of litter in the sea almost twice as high as in the mediterranean.
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for years there was very little detailed information about the state of the black sea. that is now changing, and we have joined a research vessel funded by the european union. packed full of scientists, its job is to travel right across the black sea, providing the data to better inform government decisions. long before humans began ruining the black sea, it had, thanks to its geography, a unique make up. 89% of the total body of the black sea, it is this not this beautiful, blue water with jumping dolphins here and there, but it is hydrogen sulphide. toxic, smelly chemical. so when you go down, 100, 150 metres under the surface, forget life, you know.
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bacteria is there. what is worrying scientists is that climate change might lead to a shift in the delicate balance between the two layers. one of the many unknowns about the black sea is how climate change and rising sea temperatures will affect the oxygenated layer at the top, and the hydrogen sulphide below that. this device here, these tanks will take samples of water at different depths, and the sensors beneath here are designed to measure the temperature, the salinity and the oxygen content of the water. that allows scientists to say at what point in the water the oxygenated layer and and the hydrogen sulphide layer, that dead zone, begins. as the device is lowered it sends back its readings.
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0xygen minimum on this location, about 88 metres. so the hydrogen sulphide layer started 88 metres. yeah. about 90 metres, yeah. what would be the impact for the black sea if the hydrogen sulphide layer rose up? it would kill the entire black sea, people would not be swimming in it, fish would not living in it, no plant would be growing at the bottom of the sea. at the moment the data suggests that the oxygenated layer that supports life is getting squeezed. but there is not enough evidence yet to make firm conclusions. so the water from the different depths is now being removed, and ta ken away. it will be analysed and look at very closely for traces of plastics, pollutants, organic matter.
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all helping the scientists here to get a better idea of how healthy or unhealthy that part of the black sea is. the same painstaking process is repeated at 12 different sampling sites over the course of seven days. but to get an idea of what is going on on the seabed... need a different piece of kit. we are now at one of the deepest parts of the black sea, and if you want to find out what is on the bottom here, you need to use a tool like this. this is called a multi—corer, the way it works is it is sent down over the side, and then it will hit the bottom and sediment from the bottom will be gathered up in those plastic tubes there and brought back up to the surface. the middle of the black sea is more than two kilometres deep,
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so it takes more than half—an—hour for it to reach the ocean floor. ok, so it has now hit the bottom. the reading is about 2200. the muddy sludge gathered is winched back up to the boat. this sample has come right from the very bottom of the black sea. the part where there is no oxygen, the hydrogen sulphide layer. oh, the smell. chanel. you think it is chanel? black sea chanel. it is more like rotten eggs. samples taken from the bottom at sites hundreds of kilometres from the shore have shown the extent of the black sea's contamination.
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microplastics are tiny pieces of plastic that can be swallowed by marine creatures and thus get into the food chain. the study of micro plastics is relatively new so it is not clear yet what impact ingesting them will have on our health. to get good samples of the surface seawater, i leave the main research vessel with peter, a slovakian scientist. peter tells me he has been finding tiny traces of everyday items in the middle of the sea.
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stimulants like caffeine and illicit drugs, painkillers, stuff like ibuprofen and then there are compounds coming from personal care product, from shampoo and dish water detergents. that sounds horrifying. should we worry about this? the biggest threat is from pharmaceuticals, especially from antibiotics. the problem is the bacteria which are also here can become resistant against these antibiotics and that is the biggest problem. and that is because if there are antibiotics in the black sea that means the bacteria will develop here that will resist the antibiotics and mean that, ultimately, the medicine no longer works. this is now a real problem. people are dying because of it.
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because the bacteria is resistant to medicine? yes. of course. after a week at sea we left the ship, having received a bleak lesson in just how badly humans have damaged the black sea. faced with the piles of rubbish and the contamination, it would be easy to write off the black sea as beyond help. plastic bottle, plastic bottle... indeed, if we made this film in the 1990s we would probably have stopped here. but thanks to a concerted international effort, this isn't the end. this is the river danube. it is one of europe's longest and most polluted rivers. it stretches its way almost 3,000 kilometres across south—eastern europe before emptying into the black sea. it's also a source of hope
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because over the last 20 years, the danube has been the subject of a massive clean—up operation. and it appears to be working. so, this is basically a river of human poo? yeah. if you flush the toilet in budapest in hungary, there's a good chance it will end up here. we do not recommend swimming in it. completed nine years ago, this is part of a water treatment revolution along the danube. backed by millions of euros of european union money. before this plant was built, around half of the produced wastewater was going directly into the danube. raw sewerage? yeah, raw sewerage. and after we had this one, after 2010, almost 95%, 96% of the sewerage is treated, biologically treated
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and going like this, clean, to the danube. eu membership for countries like hungary, that the danube flows through, has meant cash for treatment plants and stricter rules on what industry and agriculture can put in the river. those in charge of monitoring say it's made a real difference. the eu provides a framework where the combination of the regulatory frame of the regulation and the transfer of the money that finances support to eu member states was one of the key factors of the improving of the situation on the danube. so this is a positive story. you are sure that the danube and, by connection, the black sea are now on their way back and the worst is over? we can be happy and satisfied with what we did in terms of reduction of the pollution coming from one big river, which is danube, because we do not know much about the other rivers. but definitely over the last 15
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years we have witnessed improvement. the who danube—black sea story is a success story of the countries transforming themselves in an better environmental management and reaching a better environmental situation. in search of those signs of recovery, we headed off into the shallow part of the black sea, near the mouth of the danube. one of the best indicators as to whether things are getting better is the presence of this red seaweed, called phyllophora. large phyllophora fields were once common in this part of the black sea but as the water quality deteriorated, the seaweed fields shrunk dramatically.
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alexander is heading a0 metres down to the bottom of the black sea to look for signs that the phyllophora is indeed on its way back. his underwater camera shows lots of jellyfish. they are an indicator of poor water quality and a sign there aren't many predators that may eat them. if there is lots of seaweed, then there is food and shelter for small marine creatures, too. back on the surface, alexander gives his verdict.
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there they are. and what of the black sea's larger mammals like the dolphin? how many do you think there are there? how many? at least seven. karina, a dolphin expert, is taking part in a major survey to try and find out if their numbers are recovering. so there's a group of dolphins that keep surfacing near where we are and we are trying, there they are again, to take good pictures of their fins, because dolphins have unique markings on theirfins and if we can get a good picture of the fin when it pops
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above the water then it's possible to track and see if it has been seen somewhere else in the black sea. they have signs like this. and you see, the dorsal, the back fin is quite sharp. it has scars or a cut on it. so that should help you match it and see if you've seen it anywhere else before? yes. there are two species of dolphin in the black sea. but at the moment, no—one knows how badly they have been affected by all the pollution. though its overall condition remains grim, this is not a story without hope.
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the black sea does appear, thanks in part to efforts along the danube, to have turned the corner. in very, very general terms, if i could put it in one sentence is that the black sea is recovering. for those who despair that humanity is incapable of rising to the scale of the global environmental crisis, the black sea is an example of how, with sustained effort, a seemingly endless kind of destruction can be slowed and just, maybe, turned.
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hello there. by the time sunrises we will have ticked just about every weather box through the night. gusty winds kept going overnight by this area of low pressure to the north of us. strong and gusty winds on the south feeding those showers across the country. but add into all about some clear skies between them, temperatures will drop low enough for some ice to begin with. but the day ahead is actually not looking too bad, lots of dry and sunny weather around. but it starts on a cold note. anywhere really from north wales, likely to wake up to a coating of snow, too. the showers we have to the start the day will fade away for many, a few will continue across scotland. dry and sunny weather for a time, central and eastern parts staying sunny throughout. southern and western areas, showers get going again, rain, hail, sleet, snow and the winds will pick up. they aren't as strong as saturday,
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but the hebrides and south—west could see gales, if not severe gales develop later in the day. temperatures 9—10 degrees, tempered by the wind, northern ireland and scotland 2—4 degrees. showers picking up through the night, we will have a breezy overnight as well. very windy by the end of the night in western scotland and northern ireland, but still temperatures dropping in many places again, close to a frost, some icy conditions to start the new working week. so here we go for monday, a few showers across england and wales, particularly around the coast. a dry and sunny day before cloud increases in the south later. showers in the north of northern ireland, with gale force winds. with that gathering cloud towards this outcome comes a bit
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of a question mark, just how much with this weather front influence us on monday night and tuesday? this is potentially the story for tuesday, lots of rain across central and eastern england and it could be cold enough over the very tops of the hills, we could see some sleet and snow mixed in. many to the north and west of the country will have a drier day, just one or two isolated showers, another chilly day for most. and even if that weather front does affect us, it will clear out of the way as we go tuesday into wednesday. the rest of the week, temperatures rise and rain becoming more widespread.
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welcome to bbc news. i'm james reynolds. our top stories: extra time for climate talks in madrid as delegates struggle to agree on crucial measures to tackle global warming. tens of thousands take to the streets of rome to protest against the italian far right the league party. hello and welcome to bbc news. as negotiations continue through the night at the un climate talks, the minister leading them has appealed for flexibility as delegates struggle to reach agreement on crucial measures needed to tackle global warming.


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