tv Global 3000 LINKTV August 8, 2019 1:00am-1:31am PDT
life is all about buying things, because we're told that boosts the economy. and not just in industrial countries. the middle classes of emerging ececonomies are also the constt target of seductive advertising campaigns. there's too much of everything, including information. but how do we deal with it? and what happepens with all te stuff we no longer want? most countries have a trash problem. only a few really recycle. rubbish piled high in the
streets of beirut after lebanon's largest waste dump closed in 2015. it was already groaning under 15 million tons of excess trash. thousands took to the streets to protest against the situation. has anything changed since then? repoporter: the bebeaches in e lebanese c capital beirurut coue beautiful. but the realitisis they' oftften half burieied under garbrbage. so thehese young peoeople ae getting ready to transform their local beach. they're taking part in a campaign called run and clean. it's the brainchild of eddy bitar and his ngo live love beirut. the group spends part of the time jogging and the rest picking up litter. the events draw up to 200 people. many young people in particular are fed up of waiting for the lebanese government to take the initiative.
eddy: this is part of the outcome of the crisis that we had a few years ago. we see that people are more and more concerned w with all the problems facing the enviroronmt in lebanon. and we are very happy to see that all the people, young people, families, youth, are all coming all together in order to remove all the trash. reporter: much of the rubbish that the group picks up was not dropped on the beach, but washed up by the sea. that's because beirut's two largest garbage dumps are located right next to the water. the team spirit is clearly evident as young people from beirut's muslim and christian communities come together in a rare joint project. >> there is a lot of pollution in lebanon. so we could do anything, just so we can help. >> the local aututhorities are absent when it comes to waste managemement. and i think we should put it on record that while we were running to clean this part of
the beach, the coast, we saw the mayor walking in the opposite direction. and we asked him to come help and lead by example, and he said he was too busy. reporter: three years ago, local residents forced the closure of what was then the main local dump. garbage was left to mount up in the streets of beirut, as garbage collection services were simply suspended. najat saliba heads up the nature conservation center at the americanan university of beiru. she says the government let the crisis happen,n, despite repea. dr. sali: it will happen again. because we don't see from the government any plan to implement a sound waste management solution. so it will happen inome cicities, but in some other cits where positive change has been already implemented, it will not happen. reporterer: these days, gagare collection is once again working normally in beirut.
but the trash is simply taken to a new dump. sometimes it goes s to an incinerator, but that pollutes the air. recycling containers like these are nonot yet widespread. these ones were provided by ziad abi chaker's company. he says since the garbage crisis, more people are keen to see recycling introduced. ziad: pepeople have really embraced it and they're asking us for more and more locations. but the problem we have is that sometimes people leave their bags outside the bins. they don't put their stuff in. and if you keep bags out, other people just bring in unsorted garbage bags and they will place it near r those bags. and then s soon enough it degenerates into a mini landfill. reporter: in addition to the recycling waste, his company also sorts through 20 tons of household garbage each day. he's employed 23 syrian refugees to do the work, giving them proper contracts and the local minimum wage, equivalent to some
$500 u.s. a month. the company collects metetal, textiles, paper, and huge amounts of plasticic. ziad abi chaker opened the facility in the middle of the garbage crisis, taking out a loan of more than $700,000 u.s. the garbage processed here gets 100% recycled. organic waste, which makes up a high percentage of garbage in lebanon, is turned into compost. ziad: the problem was before the crisisis is that all this wase would go to a landfill. when the crisis happened, this was the instigation to build a facility like this one where you have sororting and composting, d where nothing goes to the landfill or the incinerator. rereporter: but that's not a . on the roof of this refugee centre in beirut, he's putting some of the recycled waste to good use. ziziad abi ckeker's mpmpany mas
what he calllls ecoboards out f plastic waste. they're used to create raised beds for vertical gardening. the beds are filled with compost generated from the organic waste. the rooftop offers over 100 square meters of space on which to grow w vegetables. there are 3000 plants here in all. a group of women at the refugee home have set up a catering service using the vegetables. it's their own company. wafaa: i'm working in that kitchen. so, i have the big chance to go outside my home, have good friends, and income for my familyly. reporter: meanwhile, eddy bitar from the beach clean-up campaign is pursuing new solutions for beirut's waste disposal. a mobile phone app allows residents to have paper and plastic waste collected from their homes. his drivers deposit the waste in
the garage, ready for a partner company to collect and recycle it. they're now getting between 60 and 100 orders a day. eddy: we do believe that there's room to grow and that people wantnt more of those services because it's helping them in their daily life. reporter: in just six months, 15,000 people have downloaded eddy bitar's app, and 5000 households are now using his service regularly. host: half of all clothes also find their way into the trash. most within a year, many of them unworn. every second, the equivalent of a truckload of textiles arrives at a trash depot or is burned, making $500 billion u.s. worth of wasted goods a year. the clothing industry is also environmentally damaging. every year, over half a million
tons of textile microfibers end up in the oceans, the equivalent of 50 billion plastic bottles. greenpeace says that between 2000 and 2014, worldwide clothing production doubled. it's now around 100 billion items of new clothing each year. in germany, consumers buy an average of 60 such items annually and wear them just half as long as they did 15 years ago. reporter: sven steinmann from the german clothing foundation is a patient man. and he doesn't mind his job, unpacking boxes of discarded clothing and blankets in the city of helmstedt. but over the past five years he's noticed a change. people now throw in all kinds of items that simply don't belong here. sven: a construction site warning lamp.
reporter: clothes banks are increasingly being used as garbage containers. perhaps a case of people not only having too many clothes, but too much of everything. so how has this happened? the cotton fields hahave traditionally beenen a key facr in the production and pricing of quality clothing. global cotton production is on the rise, climbing 14% last year alone. nevertheless, the proportion of textiles containing cotton has dropped. that's because of the growing overproduction of clothing and other textiles worldwide. cotton is gradually y being didisplaced by s synthetic fibi, with the chemical induststry ear to expand itits share of t the supply chain. as a quick glance around shopping zones in german confirms, synthetic clotng is all the rage. in addition to the low prices, it can cater to different requirements, being comfortable, durable, and breathable. an umbrella organization for
clothing collectors in germany is alarmed by the trend towards more and cheaper textiles. thomas: every year in germany one millllion tons of tetextilee ththrown away. thatat's the equivalent of a que of trucks covering 1000 kilometers. it's unrealistic to expect all that material to be used for people in need. we calculate that less than 10% is actually given to local charitable initiatives. repoporter: as for other 90%0%, that's passed on to sorting companies, which later sell it on the world market. the price those companies pay has fallen in recent years to 300 euros per ton. five years ago they were paying 400 per ton. back then, the surplus of used clothes was not as excessive. and the quality was better, too. thomas: the proportion of
poorer-quality textiles, those which are no longer wearable, is rising. and the problem, especially with these low-quality items, is that they're often only partially recyclable, if at all. reporter: if you believe the advevertisers, peoeople who wao look g good don a nenew outfit y day.y. wardrobes i in many wesn countrtries are bursting at te seseams because e clothes are e. or r rather, in mamarket speak,d vae for momoy. and d compliant t cuomerers du other global retail chains are ththe prorising sharply.h&h&m, a as are their share prices. and customers are wearing clothes for ever-shorter periods of time. it's a classic consumerist cycle. sven steinmann from the german clothing foundation has reached the next collection point. this makes the one with the building site beacon look pretty orderly.
so what's his impression of this container? sven: not so nice. i guess we're a throw-away society, sadly. something smells a bit rancid here. reporter: what does he mean by rancid? sven: it stinks, like someone's thrown away their rubbish in here. reporter: what was his most extreme experience so far? sven: rotting food, with maggots. i've seen it all. reporter: but poor hygiene is not the only problem facing the clothes collecting organizations. the materials have become noticeably thinner. parcel donations help to compensate for the declining quality. people who send donations by post to the german clothing
foundation tend to wash the garments beforehand. they seem to give more consideration to those in need. nonetheless, it's becoming increasingly expensive to ensure the requisite quality when it comes to the bales of compressed clothes that eventually go for sale on the world market. ulrich: we have to sort through a huge amount, just to get the 4% or 5% of good q quality ite. around 80% w we can only selelo industry for u use as filler mamaterial, and use the incomeo finance relief aid projects. reporterer: but it's a a system under threatat. africacan markets, w which for decades haveve provided nenehos toto german caststoffs, are bebg momore selectiveve. anda, for example, is making foforts tooostst itswn small-scale textile induryry. th's o one reason whwhy the economic area the east aicican mmununity nts toto ht importrt
ofof second-handnd clothes stag nenext year. 's a mapapplauding. say is loafter all,l, many consumumersn coununtries like u uganda do bet omom accesto u used ropeanan clothes. thomasfor a loof peopl seco-hand ishe best tion for tting quity clots.s. condnd-hd itememare ofte provide ople witan incom prepoer: backn german the flood of discardrded cloeses s not t set to stotop antime soo. so german clothing recycler so-ex is working with many of the major highstreet retailers that now take e ck used clothing.. this meansns the stores s can m their bubusinesses arere moe susustainae. and in t the best case scenari, companies lilike renew celelln swededen recycle t the clothesd turnhehem into a fororm of
synthetic cotton. and the consumers? theyey get voucherers in returr their old clothes to put towards yet moreew purchases from thr favori stotore host: information overload -- that's something people compback then of course, only scscholars had a access to alle knowledge compiled in manuscriptpts and books.s. now, thanks to the internet, a flood of digitized information has become part of daily life. whether they're students, tradespeople, children, or researchers, more than half of people worldwide use the internet. reporter: 400 hours of youtube video material a are uploaded every minute. 103 3 million n spam emails lan
our mailboxes every day. 500 millllion tweetsts are posto twitter per day. ththat's 6000 twtweets per sec. it's more than any one person could process in a lifetime. a constant bombardment of stories, images, and marketing can overwhelm us, leading to information overload. but what accounts for this glut? with new information beieing produced at such a rapid rate, eveveryone feelsls pressured t o produce new content just to keep up. newspapersrs update their onlie sites throughout the day. and audiences, too, have gone global. anyonenean make a a video and upload it. and the number of news and medi. too much information, too many choices. many respond in one of two ways. we can become overstimulated,
addicted to the constant flow of information and new input. our streress levels rise, and e worry we might overlook something interesting or importrtant. others go numb, lose interest in the informatation, and succu to the cocolorful flow w of imas. jan: when we're stressed we become forgetful and lose focus. what i find woworrying is the polarizing effect, where we see everything as black and white. we're quicker to perceive a situation as threatening. when we're overwhehelmed, we'e more likely to go on the attack. reporter: psychiatrist jan kalbitzer conducts research at the center for internet and mental health at the charite university hospital in berlin. jan: people have a need for information. but ththis glut, the way the mea is always blaring the alarm, makes us afraid, even of the real world.
we live in a virtual reality. wewe might be walking througha safe city, but the constant flood of scary headlines makes us afraid. reporter: we're pummeled with opinions, claims, , and coununterclaims.s. it can bececome difficult to distinguish h between real nes opinioand fafa.s, , and and d there's lilittle to helpe sensnse of the chahaos. searchch engines donon't necessy give us the best rults, but the reresults promoted by paid advertisers. jajan: it's a big problem when e internet is entirely controlled by money. that has to stop. as a society, we need to step in, both politically and as individuals. reporter: the internet affects our brain, maybe even rewiring it. some studies have shown that constant multi-tasking on ouor compututers and devivices overs our pre-frontal cortex. another study has shown that the area of the brain responsible for thumb movement is largernn people w who u a smartphe.
so we can't just say the internet is dumbing us down. jan: when humans began using their opposable thumbs and using tools, it changed their brain structure. we began walking more upright, so that we could better use our hands. our brain always has to adapt to new conditions. it would be terrible if it couldn't. reporter: so how do we adapt to this new reality? some radically limit their exposure. others try to approach the online information glut in healthier ways. but there's no getting around it -- nowadays, everyone needs media literacy. host: more than 821 million people on our planet suffer from starvation. one in nine of us doesesn't hae enough to eat. and yet, a third of food worldwide is wasted. north america, australia, and new w zealand top the list of fd wasters. in second place, europe. meanwhile, in sub-saharan
africa, generally, very little food is wasted. but south africa is a clear exception. reporter: tatjana von bormann pays regular visits to the garbage dumps around cape town. she has studied the wasteful lifestyle of many south africans and says change is urgently needed. every year, the visserhok landfill alone receieives thousands of tons of food waste. it comes from restaurants, factories, and local farms. tatjana: we estimate that a third of food is dumped in south africa every year. this has significant ecological impacts because all that foodd has compounded water and energy, and from a climate change perspective, in the landfill it emits harmful greenhouse gasas, both methahane and c carbon dio.
in south africa, up to 12 million pepeople don't know whe their next meal is coming from, and yet we're wasting 10 million tons of food every year. reporter: rudolf roscher has spent years looking at ways of reducing food waste here in the western cape. he works for the regional department of agriculture. von bormann has come to visit one of his projects, which she believes could provide a model for the rest of the country. roscher has managed to persuade farmers to donate their food surplus instead of plowing it back into the ground. lizette kloppers' farm is the collection point. seven local farmers bring their excess produce here. lizette: you should see ththe quality.
anything, even if there is a little mark on it, or a spot or something. no, that's not good enoughgh. they want to deliver the best. so, yes, they want to give. reporter: sometimes, several tons of food arrive here in a single day. government-sponsored vehicles then transport it to soup kitchens in nearby townships like avian park, which is home to 20,000 people. poverty is rife here, as are gang violence and drug crime, and it's often the children who suffer most. lena: today we're cooking a dish with pumpkin, potatoes, carrots, and other vegetables. then we'll serve it with rice. that's what we're giving the children today. reporter: by the time the soup kitchen opens, crowds of children are already waiting. it feeds 150 of them a day, serving nearly 3000 meals a month. if it weren't for the soup kitchen, those childldren wouldo
hungry. the centre only caters for children, many of whom are undernourished. most people in the township live from state benefits. the soup kitchens may be a life-saver for some, but they're still not the ideal solution, long-term. tatjana: food handouts are not going to put us on a sustainable trajectory. we need to look at the whole system and we need to look at levers for change to tip the system into a positive state. at wwf, we're e looking at the issue of farming both on a commmmercial level, how better farming practices can be implemented, but also for smallholder farmers so that they are both environmentallyly and economically sustainable. reporter: another example in avian park shows just what smallholder farming can do. a few years ago, some of the residents teamed up with the department of agriculture to
begin growing their own food. the township now has 45 food gardens, where members plant fresh vegetables for the local community. those in need can come and collect them for free. the garden project has been running since 2015. instead of getting paid, the members get a share of the harvest. rudolf: we initially started in avian park as the western cape department of agriculture to create food gardens in avian park community with the purpose to learn the community to make their own food, produce their own vegetables, but we soon realized that it will not be enouough to address the food security problem in avian park. and therefore we supplemented the fofood with donations thate get from the food surplus project that we're doing with the commercial farmers in the area. reporter: major food retailers are now joining the initiative, too. instead of disposing of food that has passed its sell-by date, the retail chain
woolworths donates it to charitable organizations that work with the poor. all the food is still within the use-by date. and to ensure it remains refrigerated at all times, woolworths issues it directly from the shop's cold storage room. tatjana: that has given n me grt hope for the future that we will no longer have the absurd situation of wasting a third of food and all the environmental and climate impacts that go along with that and actually work together through the value chain to ensure that all edible food is eaten and ideally reachehes those who need it mo. reporter: today, the unsold food is going to a homeless shelter in cape town. it's a practice that could work for the whole of south africa. in a country where 12 million people regularly go hungry, at least a part of the surplus food
narrator: on this episode of "earth focus," climate change is forcing traditional dairy producers to look for more sustainable methods. in central california, farmers have found wayays to reduce and evenen reue methane gas, while in eastern africa, drought is creating a market for an unexpected source of milk.