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tv   Shrimps Saris and Guns  BBC News  August 6, 2022 9:30pm-10:01pm BST

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of a giant russian—controlled nuclear power plant, but there has been no radiation leak. local russian—appointed officials blamed ukraine for shelling earlier. archie battersbee, the 12—year—old who had been at the centre of a legal battle between his parents and doctors, has died. doctors at the royal london hospital believed he was brain stem dead, and the courts agreed that ending his care was in his best interests. 12 people have been killed and more than 30 injured after a coach carrying religious pilgrims from poland crashed in northern croatia. the bus was heading to a roman catholic site in bosnia—herzegovina. it's not yet clear what caused the crash. now on bbc news, shrimps, saris and guns — faarea masud investigates how the demand for shrimp is destroying
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land that women have farmed for centuries in bangladesh. along the coastline is riverbeds of rural bangladesh, thousands of fields where rice was once grown have been converted into intensive shrimp farms, catering to a multibillion—dollar global industry. since the explosion of the industry in the 19805 when the world's appetite for this luxury food grew, there have been increasing allegations of violence and land grabbing by criminal gangs.
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i've come to bangladesh to hear first—hand about the hidden abuses in the industry, and the detrimental effect of saltwater shrimp farms on these women's health and livelihoods. poor people are being exploited by the rich and powerful and poverty is not being eradicated. these shrimp are so expensive, and poor people can't even dream of buying them. it's taken me years to gain exclusive access to the working conditions of this remote, often secretive community. now these women farmers are fighting back to protect their rights.
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frozen shrimp exports are worth about $500 million to the bangladeshi economy. after garments, seafood is the country's biggest export. most of it's sold to europe. baby shrimp are caught from rivers and waterways and hatcheries, and then brought to these shrimp farms where they're cultivated to full size. most of these shrimp farms are along the coastal beds and riverbeds of bangladesh, where there is a plentiful supply of water. but environmentalists and local communities are telling me that fish farms leave the area weak and vulnerable. the land can no longer withstand the effect of cyclones and typhoons which bangladesh experiences regularly.
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as we travelled to the south—west coast, the effects of saltwater toxicity on the farms was clear. we are surrounded by cracked and grey coastline, which we actually saw using aerial cameras, stretched for miles. local wildlife had disappeared. the landscape is gutted and divided into rough rectangles known as polders, low—lying tracts of land surrounded by embankments. many of the people farming in this area in the polders live below the poverty line. i began myjourney in polder 23, when there are currently ongoing problems. here, the land is barren and muddy. well, this lady has just told me that because of problems of saltwater exposure, she has actually had
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to have surgery. in fact, many of the women here have said they had all kinds of related problems to be exposure to salt. many of the women say they have complained to local shrimp farm owners and the local authorities about the health issues they are experiencing, but they say their complaints aren't being listened to.
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these coastal areas are overseen by local union councils. the chairman of one such council told me that these days, violence in these shrimp times is not on the same scale as a few decades ago, and that any complaints are dealt with through a more collaborative system. over in polder 29, i heard about the history of intensive shrimp farming, which included allegations of violent conduct by men with guns. since many shrimp farm bosses live in the cities, far away from the remote coastal areas, they would send local agents or local contacts to maintain the affairs of the shrimp farms. their methods, say local
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witnesses, got out of hand. during prolonged campaigns local farmers said these men would intimidate them into converting their rice land into intensive shrimp farms. i heard similar stories in some of the other areas i visited.
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and when did this happen?
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the police didn't respond to our request for comment on the weapons involved in the shrimp industry, but khushi kabirfrom the non—governmental organisation called nijera kori, or "do it yourselves," told me about the history of guns in the industry. they used to be armed. now they are less armed. they were very violent before, because they had gotten away with it in the past, so they thought they could get away with it, but because of all the noises we were making at all the levels, arms, etc has gone down considerably. now what they use is manipulation. iasked people, especially at the village level, you know you are risking your life, you know you are going to get killed 7 and yet you resist. and they said, we have nothing else to lose. they had to fight a lot, so did we, but the fact that we don't give up, and i always say that you only
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lose when you give up, i think that is what empowers the people in the area to feel that they can live their life the way they wish to. and they don't have to be intimidated by goons, thugs or people who are in power. slowly a resistance began against the encroaching intensive shrimp farms. the revolutionary spark originated in polder 22, where we travel to next. amidst the grey, infertile shrimp land, it remains a shining victorious patch of green. it was here in 1990 where a localfarmer was brutally shot dead. her name was karunamoi sardar.
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she had little formal education, but she had heard from neighbouring communities about the detrimental effect that saltwater from shrimp farms had on poor communities like hers. this memorial behind me was erected to commemorate her and the beginning of the women farmer's movement to protect their rights. i have come here to speak to her family about her legacy.
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what legacy has she left for women? sometimes the women are negatively referred to as "water bandits." i asked him what his responses to rumours that his mother and herfollowers were also violent.
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the bangladeshi government department, the ministry of fisheries, responded and said any complaint of harassment or violation of labour laws reported in shrimp industries are dealt with together with local administration. it added that it welcomed more detail on people we spoke with in order to resolve any cases. the slow progress in reducing
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violence in the shrimp industry has led to grassroots do—it—yourself collectives. kripa goldar led one of the key struggles. these days, she and her colleagues go from village to village re—enacting their fight in short theatrical plays. they each play themselves. it is a way of directly educating their community who often cannot read or have no access to media.
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in an effort to see where the money to fund this industry is coming from, i tried to trace the global shrimp supply chain. i go to a fish depot where all of the small shrimp farmers sell their shrimp to factories and then they are sold on to export to foreign countries. but it was impossible to trace where all the shrimp here were coming from. it was an informal bazaar. piles of shrimp poured from unmarked baskets for brokers to sell on to the highest bidder. shrimp were brought in on carts
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with no license plates, crates full of shrimp had travelled along unmarked roads through off—map villages and a few impromptu ponds. several species of shrimp were often piled onto the same mat and after a chaotic verbal bidding process a buyer could walk off without showing any papers. consider that it is from depots like this that most of the world receives its bangladeshi shrimp. it is a very murky supply chain to verify in any meaningful way.
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and there is sometimes a problem with drinking water supply in those areas as a result of the saltwater proliferating in the area. what solutions would you propose to improve that condition for the farms? whilst bangladeshi shrimp exporters like shyamul push for growth in the industry, the country's law is also at work. environmental lawyer
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rizwana hassan has been fighting cases around saltwater shrimp farms for years. a substantial amount of agricultural land owned by the poor farmers are being forcibly grabbed by shrimp cultivators, but for the government it is export earning, but it is actually earning by a few. totally damaging the traditional livelihood earning of millions. the shrimp are so expensive that poor people cannot even dream of buying them and meeting their protein intake demand. saltwater shrimp farms have many female workers and they have complained to me about things like skin issues and ongoing health issues. what has been your experience of having to handle those cases or those issues? the local people protesting against the undue interest of the outsiders, undue interest which are protected by local lawmakers and national level policymakers.
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local people come into conflict with these outsiders and one way of suppressing people is to kill them or to threaten them with tactics so that they do not really open their mouth anymore and they do not get organised any further. and when you see that your land is underwater and you have no chance of getting it back, you are forced to work in the shrimp industry. bangladeshi's department of fisheries said in a statement that more than 250,000 rural families are dependent on shrimp farming for their livelihoods. it is said that most of the people employed in shrimp cultivation in bangladesh are marginalised people who live in coastal areas and are victims of climate change, sea level rise, saline water intrusion and loss of livelihood. it added that for a decade or more these people have been
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maintaining high global standards and that the government conducts awareness activities, training, formation of trade unions and that it supports arbitration processes based on labour rules and social compliances. but not all of bangladesh's shrimp farms are problematic, of course. successful efforts to conserve the nearby mangrove forest have led to akash's shrimp farms having healthier water for both shrimp and farmer.
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the collective strength of these women has led to some victories against an encroaching multibillion—dollar industry. the women of folder 22 enjoy rich harvests of vegetables, rice and fruit.
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women sing.
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hello there. there are some more hosepipe bans to come in over the weekend. this is the rainfall accumulation for the next five days and there really isn't any rain across england and wales. it is all up towards the north and north—west of scotland as we saw during saturday. not particularly helpful. we do have some weather fronts coming and going across the far north of the country, but it is high pressure that is
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dominating elsewhere and that is keeping it dry. still on the breezy side in scotland through sunday and western areas will be cloudy with some light rain or drizzle, drier, brighter and warmer further east across scotland. cloud and sunshine across scotland. cloud and sunshine across northern ireland on the far north of england and lots of sunshine further south across england and wales once again. not even a sniff of rain and temperatures getting up as high as 27, maybe 28 degrees in the south—east of england. there is the area of high pressure, one where the front moves away overnight and another one heading towards the far north—west of scotland so the highlands and islands on monday are likely to see some rain. 0therwise likely to see some rain. otherwise it is dry, winds elsewhere will be light and they will be lots of strong sunshine. it is continuing to heat up and higher temperatures in scotland and northern ireland but the highest temperatures across england and wales, widely the mid 20s, up to 29 in the south—east of england. the weather fronts still flirting with the far north—west of
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scotland as we head into tuesday. here we have got some stronger winds in the north and north—west of scotland. a lot of the rain will get pushed away and high pressure still in charge further south. dry and sunny and there is temperatures continuing to climb in the light winds. sea breezes will make it cooler around coastal areas, but inland it is getting hot by tuesday, 29/30 degrees, even into the midlands. it will be across england and wales that we will see heatwave developing in many areas during next week and by thursday temperatures could be as high as the mid 30s in the south—east of england. we have got dry weather across pretty much the whole of scotland and that weather front getting blown away by those breezes, light winds across many parts of england and wales and the breeze picking up to the english channel and along the south coast, but there's temperatures continuing to rise and it is worth stressing that the highest temperatures will
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be across england and wales, but the heat is pushing its way through the midlands, into northern england and parts of wales by wednesday and continuing that way into thursday as well. dominated by high pressure, it looks like it will be dry again on thursday. more cloud for the northern isles, but otherwise little or no cloud around, just over the cloud, lots of sunshine and for many the winds are light and there's temperatures likely to reach the mid 30s perhaps across the south—east of england. as we head towards the end of the week, we are drawing in some heat from the near continent. that is giving us those high temperatures. moving things on a few days and we will find more of a north—westerly breeze and that will impact the temperatures. we have some city forecasts, this is the longer range 0utlook. some city forecasts, this is the longer range outlook. the heat into the weekend and the north—westerly breeze will drop the temperatures and bring a bit more cloud, but as you can see, there is no rain in the forecast for the next ten days across many parts of the country.
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archie battersbee, the 12—year—old boy at the centre of a legal battle over whether he should be kept on life support, has died. he'd been in a coma since april.
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his mother says she did everything she promised her little boy she'd


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