People Fixing The World

Episodes

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2019072320190728 (WS)

An innovative new weekly programme looking at how we can solve the world's problems.

Brilliant solutions to the world's problems. The people making the world a better place.

20190730
2019082720190901 (WS)

An innovative new weekly programme looking at how we can solve the world's problems.

Brilliant solutions to the world's problems. The people making the world a better place.

20190917

An innovative new weekly programme looking at how we can solve the world's problems.

Brilliant solutions to the world\u2019s problems. The people making the world a better place.

A new way to detect an invisible poison in water20190903

In the 1970s hundreds of thousands of wells were dug across Bangladesh to give people access to cholera-free water. But this led to what the World Health Organization has called the largest mass poisoning of a population in history, worse than Chernobyl. That’s because the water in the wells wasn’t tested for arsenic. Decades on, it’s a major problem. The WHO says more than 35 million Bangladeshis have been chronically exposed to arsenic in their drinking water, and about 40,000 die of arsenicosis every year. The field test for it is inaccurate and prone to human error. Most Bangladeshis drink from wells in their back yards which haven’t been tested for years, if at all. But now a gadget is being developed which will allow anyone to test a well cheaply, instantly and accurately. The scientific key to it is a tiny enzyme, found inside a bacterium affectionately known as Mr Tickle, which was discovered in an Australian gold mine.

Reporters: Chhavi Sachdev and Jo Mathys

(Photo Credit: BBC)

Scientists hope a new test will save millions from drinking arsenic in their water

Brilliant solutions to the world\u2019s problems. The people making the world a better place.

A new way to detect an invisible poison in water2019090320190908 (WS)

In the 1970s hundreds of thousands of wells were dug across Bangladesh to give people access to cholera-free water. But this led to what the World Health Organization has called the largest mass poisoning of a population in history, worse than Chernobyl. That’s because the water in the wells wasn’t tested for arsenic. Decades on, it’s a major problem. The WHO says more than 35 million Bangladeshis have been chronically exposed to arsenic in their drinking water, and about 40,000 die of arsenicosis every year. The field test for it is inaccurate and prone to human error. Most Bangladeshis drink from wells in their back yards which haven’t been tested for years, if at all. But now a gadget is being developed which will allow anyone to test a well cheaply, instantly and accurately. The scientific key to it is a tiny enzyme, found inside a bacterium affectionately known as Mr Tickle, which was discovered in an Australian gold mine.

Reporters: Chhavi Sachdev and Jo Mathys

(Photo Credit: BBC)

Scientists hope a new test will save millions from drinking arsenic in their water

Brilliant solutions to the world\u2019s problems. The people making the world a better place.

A simple way to help a relative if they\u2019re arrested20190730

In the US most people who are charged with a crime can’t afford expensive lawyers and investigators to prepare their case. The public defenders who represent them usually have heavy workloads and limited resources. Family and friends would often like to help but don’t know how.

So a group in California is trying to make things fairer by teaching them how the legal system works and explaining what they can do. It shows them how to dissect police reports, put together a social biography for the defendant and get crucial evidence for their lawyer.

Started in San Jose, California, the model is now being used across the US and beyond.

We hear from people whose lives have been transformed by this approach.

Presenter: Nick Holland
Producer: Claire Bates

(Photo Credit: Silicon Valley De-Bug)

A group in California is teaching families how to help loved ones charged with crimes

Brilliant solutions to the world\u2019s problems. The people making the world a better place.

A simple way to help a relative if they\u2019re arrested2019073020190804 (WS)

In the US most people who are charged with a crime can’t afford expensive lawyers and investigators to prepare their case. The public defenders who represent them usually have heavy workloads and limited resources. Family and friends would often like to help but don’t know how.

So a group in California is trying to make things fairer by teaching them how the legal system works and explaining what they can do. It shows them how to dissect police reports, put together a social biography for the defendant and get crucial evidence for their lawyer.

Started in San Jose, California, the model is now being used across the US and beyond.

We hear from people whose lives have been transformed by this approach.

Presenter: Nick Holland
Producer: Claire Bates

(Photo Credit: Silicon Valley De-Bug)

A group in California is teaching families how to help loved ones charged with crimes

Brilliant solutions to the world\u2019s problems. The people making the world a better place.

Audience Takeover: Your Plastic Solutions2019052820190602 (WS)

We hear what you, our listeners, are doing to tackle the problem of plastic waste. The idea came about when you started getting in touch after a previous episode asking why we don’t reuse and refill the plastic containers we’ve already got. (The Reuse and Refill Revolution: Tuesday 23 April.) Since then you’ve sent lots of alternative ideas and suggestions. Nick Holland and Kat Hawkins hear from shoppers cutting down on packaging by buying in bulk, people organising litter-picking trips to clean up plastic from the desert and an idea to create giant floating plastic pontoons as platforms for new housing. There are some surprising tips too, like from the woman who reuses empty pet food sachets to store her pre-cooked meals in the freezer and the man who melts down his own plastic waste and turns it into fence posts.

Presenters Kat Hawkins / Nick Holland
Producer Nick Holland

(Photo credit: Getty Images)

Brilliant solutions to the world's problems. The people making the world a better place.

Bangladesh\u2019s biker girls2019081320190818 (WS)

For the growing number of working women in Dhaka, commuting to work can be a challenge.

The traffic is terrible and cars and taxis are expensive. Public transport is not only inconvenient, it is sometimes unsafe - many women face unwanted sexual attention on buses.

So after his wife was harassed by a taxi driver, one young entrepreneur set up a motorbike ride-share service with a difference. Not only are the customers all women, the drivers are too.

Reporter Chhavi Sachdev meets some brave women finding new ways to navigate Bangladeshi traffic and society.

(Photo Caption: Kobita on her scooter / Photo Credit: BBC)

The motorbike taxi app where the drivers and passengers are all women.

Brilliant solutions to the world\u2019s problems. The people making the world a better place.

Bangladesh's Biker Girls2019081320190818 (WS)

For the growing number of working women in Dhaka, commuting to work can be a challenge.

The traffic is terrible and cars and taxis are expensive. Public transport is not only inconvenient, it is sometimes unsafe - many women face unwanted sexual attention on buses.

So after his wife was harassed by a taxi driver, one young entrepreneur set up a motorbike ride-share service with a difference. Not only are the customers all women, the drivers are too.

Reporter Chhavi Sachdev meets some brave women finding new ways to navigate Bangladeshi traffic and society.

(Photo Caption: Kobita on her scooter / Photo Credit: BBC)

The motorbike taxi app where the drivers and passengers are all women.

Brilliant solutions to the world\u2019s problems. The people making the world a better place.

For the growing number of working women in Dhaka, commuting to work can be a challenge.

The traffic is terrible and cars and taxis are expensive. Public transport is not only inconvenient, it is sometimes unsafe - many women face unwanted sexual attention on buses.

So after his wife was harassed by a taxi driver, one young entrepreneur set up a motorbike ride-share service with a difference. Not only are the customers all women, the drivers are too.

Reporter Chhavi Sachdev meets some brave women finding new ways to navigate Bangladeshi traffic and society.

(Photo Caption: Kobita on her scooter / Photo Credit: BBC)

The motorbike taxi app where the drivers and passengers are all women.

Brilliant solutions to the world\u2019s problems. The people making the world a better place.

An innovative new weekly programme looking at how we can solve the world's problems.

Brilliant solutions to the world\u2019s problems. The people making the world a better place.

Can Capturing Carbon Buy Us Time To Tackle Climate Change?2019061120190616 (WS)

To prevent the worst effects of climate change, we need to massively cut how much carbon we pump into the atmosphere. But those carbon cuts might not happen in time, so another approach may be needed.

Around the world, scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs are working on ways to give us more time to change our way of life. They’re developing technologies and techniques that effectively do climate change in reverse. Instead of pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, they suck it in and store it.

These projects range from using rock dust for “enhanced weathering” to trap carbon in farmers’ fields, to the power station attempting to capture it on its way up the chimney.

We go on a tour of these projects to see if they offer hope for the future.

Producer and reporter: Tom Colls

(Photo: Carbon dioxide illustration. Credit: Getty Images)

The projects that are trying to take CO2 out of the atmosphere

Brilliant solutions to the world's problems. The people making the world a better place.

Can Phages Save Us As Antibiotics Stop Working?2019032620190331 (WS)

Tens of thousands of people die every year because bacterial infections are becoming resistant to antibiotics. That number is expected to explode, as more antibiotics stop working, making antimicrobial resistance, or AMR, one of the gravest health threats facing humanity.

But could viruses come to the rescue? Bacteriophages, or phages for short, are viruses that infect and kill bacteria. They were discovered 100 years ago and have been used to treat infections for decades in Georgia. But despite their abundance in nature and proven ability to kill infections, their potential has not yet been realised outside the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

Steffanie Strathdee, who stumbled across phages as she tried to save her husband’s life, is now leading a campaign to put phages on the map. But can their use be scaled up from individual and costly treatments to a fully-operational weapon in the war against AMR?

Reporter: Tom Colls

(Photo: A phage under an electron microscope. Credit: University of Leicester)

How phages \u2013 viruses that kill bacteria \u2013 are saving lives.

Brilliant solutions to the world's problems. The people making the world a better place.

Can Sleep Deprivation Help Treat Bipolar Disorder?2019060420190609 (WS)

People diagnosed with bipolar disorder are commonly treated with a variety of drugs. They aren’t always effective and can come with a range of side effects.

For several decades, an Italian psychiatrist has been pioneering a different approach. By asking his patients to stay awake for 36 hours three times over the course of a week – and combining the counterintuitive idea with bright light therapy and lithium – he has found that some of them demonstrate a remarkable improvement in mood, which can last indefinitely.

The therapy has caught the attention of researchers across the world, and new trials are being carried out, but the idea is not without its critics.

Sam Judah spends a week with a cohort of patients as they undergo sleep deprivation treatment at the San Raffaele hospital in Milan, and tries to find out if it is effective.

Produced and presented by Sam Judah

Photo Caption: Francesco Benedetti / Photo Credit: BBC

An Italian doctor asks patients to stay awake all night, to try to allay their depression

Brilliant solutions to the world's problems. The people making the world a better place.

An innovative new weekly programme looking at how we can solve the world's problems.

Could A Device Invented In The 1930s Help End Period Poverty?2019050720190512 (WS)

Period poverty affects girls and women across the world who can’t afford to buy sanitary pads or tampons each month. So what are the alternatives? We look at two very different solutions.

In a refugee camp in Jordan, we follow one woman as she tries to get a sanitary pad micro-factory off the ground.
While in Malawi, they’re handing out menstrual cups to teenagers - which last for 10 years and don’t produce any waste.

Presenter: Vibeke Venema
Producer: Tom Colls

(Photo Caption: A menstrual cup / Photo Credit: Getty Images)

The people hoping to use sanitary pad micro-factories and silicone cups to help women

Brilliant solutions to the world's problems. The people making the world a better place.

An innovative new weekly programme looking at how we can solve the world's problems.

Dna Tests For Dogs To Tackle Problem Poo2019041620190421 (WS)

The average dog produces about 124kg of poo every year, but not all of that gets picked up and disposed of properly.

So people living in many residential blocks in the US have had their dogs’ DNA registered on a database, in an attempt to tackle problem poo. If they don’t pick up after their dog, a sample of what’s left behind is sent off to a lab so the perpetrator can be identified.

The company behind the tests says it works well in private, gated communities but what about public parks and pavements?

Could other solutions, such as offering rewards for picking up poo, or posting dog mess backs to the owners, work in the long term?

And we hear how Ontario in Canada is collecting dog poo to turn it into energy.

Presenter: Kat Hawkins
Reporters: Ros Tamblyn and Claire Bates

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

US residents fed up with dog mess are using a high-tech solution

Brilliant solutions to the world's problems. The people making the world a better place.

An innovative new weekly programme looking at how we can solve the world's problems.

Life-saving Surgery, But Not By A Doctor2019062520190630 (WS)

More than five billion people around the world don’t have access to safe, affordable surgical care. It has been a big problem in Ethiopia where most specialist doctors are concentrated in the cities, contributing to high rates of maternal mortality.

In 2009 the Ethiopian government began training Integrated Emergency Surgical Officers. Health workers, such as nurses and midwives, are taught to perform emergency operations in remote, rural clinics where there are no surgeons. It was the first programme of its kind and is seen as a model for other developing countries.

More than 800 surgical officers have now completed the three-year Masters programme and are performing hundreds of caesareans and other emergency procedures each year.

People Fixing The World follows one of them, Seida Guadu, as she operates to try to save the lives of a mother and her unborn child.

Reporter: Ruth Evans
Producers: Lily Freeston and Hadra Ahmed

(Picture credit: BBC)

Nurses and midwives in Ethiopia are being trained to perform emergency operations

Brilliant solutions to the world's problems. The people making the world a better place.

Meeting Colombia's \u2018violentologist'2019091020190915 (WS)

For the past 20 years, police chiefs and policy makers around the world have been fascinated by an idea: that violence spreads through cities like a disease, with patterns of clustering and transmission, and opportunities to inoculate communities against it.

Violence-reduction programmes, influenced by epidemiology, have been implemented in Chicago, Glasgow and - most recently - London. But before these initiatives, a link between violence and disease was made by a Colombian doctor called Rodrigo Guerrero.

When Guerrero became mayor of Cali in Colombia in 1992, the city was in crisis. It was the height of a war between the Cali and Medellin drug cartels with the homicide rate reaching a shocking 120 per 100,000 people.

Guerrero’s approach was not to wage a war against the cartels, or to cave into corruption. Instead, he used his knowledge as a Harvard-trained epidemiologist to gather data about the exact causes of homicide, make hypotheses, and try interventions. “I was no longer an epidemiologist, but a violentologist,” he recalls.

In this programme Dr Guerrero gives reporter William Kremer a tour of his city and explains his approach.

Reporter: William Kremer

(Photo Caption: Dr Rodrigo Guerrero / Photo Credit: BBC)

How a doctor in Colombia changed the way cities monitor and prevent violence

Brilliant solutions to the world's problems. The people making the world a better place.

Oysters to the rescue20190827

Pollution, overfishing and oxygen depletion are damaging coastal waters across the world. Often fish and other marine life are the victims, but scientists are using one surprising creature to help solve the problem – the oyster.

Oysters eat some chemical pollutants and fight algae blooms, which can have a damaging effect on biodiversity.

A group of teachers and scientists in New York is trying to reintroduce a billion of them into the harbour to make it a healthier, cleaner environment and strengthen the shoreline.

Another team based in France is strapping wires to oysters’ shells around oil rigs to monitor how often they open and close. That gives them vital information about how pollution levels are changing.

Reporter/ producer Jamie Ryan

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

The humble oyster is helping to keep the oceans clean and protect shorelines

Brilliant solutions to the world\u2019s problems. The people making the world a better place.

Oysters to the rescue2019082720190901 (WS)

Pollution, overfishing and oxygen depletion are damaging coastal waters across the world. Often fish and other marine life are the victims, but scientists are using one surprising creature to help solve the problem – the oyster.

Oysters eat some chemical pollutants and fight algae blooms, which can have a damaging effect on biodiversity.

A group of teachers and scientists in New York is trying to reintroduce a billion of them into the harbour to make it a healthier, cleaner environment and strengthen the shoreline.

Another team based in France is strapping wires to oysters’ shells around oil rigs to monitor how often they open and close. That gives them vital information about how pollution levels are changing.

Reporter/ producer Jamie Ryan

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

The humble oyster is helping to keep the oceans clean and protect shorelines

Brilliant solutions to the world\u2019s problems. The people making the world a better place.

Portugal, Drugs And Decriminalisation2019061820190623 (WS)

In the 1990s Portugal had a major heroin problem, and when it came to people injecting drugs it had one of the highest rates of HIV infection in the EU. It took a radical approach and decriminalised all personal drug use.

The law introduced in 2001 means people carrying drugs for personal consumption aren’t prosecuted - instead they are referred to health and social services to receive treatment, and the focus is on harm reduction.

And the strategy worked. The number of people using drugs fell dramatically, new HIV and Hepatitis C infections dropped and drug-related crime became much less of a problem.

So why haven’t more countries followed their lead and adopted this model?

Produced by Hannah McNeish for BBC World Service

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

In 2001 Portugal decriminalised personal drug use to tackle a heroin crisis.

Brilliant solutions to the world's problems. The people making the world a better place.

An innovative new weekly programme looking at how we can solve the world's problems.

Putting a price on carbon20190806

For most of human history, pumping carbon dioxide into the air has come free of charge. Burning fossil fuels powered the industrial revolution and powers most industries to this day.

But all that carbon stays up in the atmosphere and dealing with the consequences won’t be free. The cost of climate change stretches beyond the lives lost in natural disasters. There will be a huge economic cost - to pay for sea defences, put out forest fires and care for millions of climate refugees.

Around the world, governments and businesses are finding different ways of putting a price on the carbon that industries pump out. They’re trying to change how the global economy operates, by making industry pay for the harm their carbon emissions cause.

Reporter: Tom Colls

(Photo Caption: A cloud and money / Photo Credit: Getty Images)

How to increase the cost of causing climate change

Brilliant solutions to the world\u2019s problems. The people making the world a better place.

Putting a price on carbon2019080620190811 (WS)

For most of human history, pumping carbon dioxide into the air has come free of charge. Burning fossil fuels powered the industrial revolution and powers most industries to this day.

But all that carbon stays up in the atmosphere and dealing with the consequences won’t be free. The cost of climate change stretches beyond the lives lost in natural disasters. There will be a huge economic cost - to pay for sea defences, put out forest fires and care for millions of climate refugees.

Around the world, governments and businesses are finding different ways of putting a price on the carbon that industries pump out. They’re trying to change how the global economy operates, by making industry pay for the harm their carbon emissions cause.

Reporter: Tom Colls

(Photo Caption: A cloud and money / Photo Credit: Getty Images)

How to increase the cost of causing climate change

Brilliant solutions to the world\u2019s problems. The people making the world a better place.

Putting A Price On Carbon2019080620190811 (WS)

For most of human history, pumping carbon dioxide into the air has come free of charge. Burning fossil fuels powered the industrial revolution and powers most industries to this day.

But all that carbon stays up in the atmosphere and dealing with the consequences won’t be free. The cost of climate change stretches beyond the lives lost in natural disasters. There will be a huge economic cost - to pay for sea defences, put out forest fires and care for millions of climate refugees.

Around the world, governments and businesses are finding different ways of putting a price on the carbon that industries pump out. They’re trying to change how the global economy operates, by making industry pay for the harm their carbon emissions cause.

Reporter: Tom Colls

(Photo Caption: A cloud and money / Photo Credit: Getty Images)

How to increase the cost of causing climate change

Brilliant solutions to the world's problems. The people making the world a better place.

Reinventing The Ranch20190521

It’s not a good time to be a meat eater. Pressure is growing to tackle climate change – and the livestock sector produces 15% of global greenhouse emissions, with cattle farming accounting for two thirds of that. Not only do cows produce damaging methane gas, but creating pasture for the animals has led to widespread deforestation.

Nowhere is this more evident than in Colombia: 34 million hectares of land there is devoted to cattle ranching. The land that’s been cleared to graze cattle is often left without trees, meaning the soil quickly becomes arid and useless.

Now an ambitious project aims to demonstrate that cattle ranching can be ecologically sound. An expert team is helping more than 4,000 farmers dramatically remodel their land. Instead of open fields, they are planting trees and shrubs, and allowing small plants to grow among the grass.

This more intensive planting helps to store carbon and provides a healthier diet for cows, meaning they produce less methane and more milk and meat. But are other cattle farmers likely to follow suit and adopt this “silvopastoral” approach?

Presenter: Kat Hawkins
Reporter: William Kremer

(Photo credit: BBC)

Can the cattle ranch be updated to fight climate change?

Brilliant solutions to the world's problems. The people making the world a better place.

Residents Turn Detective To Fight Crime20190702

Neighbours in the US are using cameras that read car number plates to record vehicles driving down their streets.
When there’s a crime they check through the footage and pass any leads on to the police. But critics say the Flock Safety system, run by a private company, is open to abuse and warn of privacy concerns.
Is it too risky to encourage residents to do police work, or a realistic response to under-resourced law enforcement?

Presenter: Tom Colls
Producer: Claire Bates

(Photo Credit: BBC)

Neighbours in the US are using cameras that read car number plates to cut crime

Brilliant solutions to the world's problems. The people making the world a better place.

Residents Turn Detective To Fight Crime2019070220190707 (WS)

Neighbours in the US are using cameras that read car number plates to record vehicles driving down their streets.
When there’s a crime they check through the footage and pass any leads on to the police. But critics say the Flock Safety system, run by a private company, is open to abuse and warn of privacy concerns.
Is it too risky to encourage residents to do police work, or a realistic response to under-resourced law enforcement?

Presenter: Tom Colls
Producer: Claire Bates

(Photo Credit: BBC)

Neighbours in the US are using cameras that read car number plates to cut crime

Brilliant solutions to the world's problems. The people making the world a better place.

Stopping child marriage with solar lanterns20190723

It’s estimated that more than 100 million girls under the age of 18 will be married in the next decade.

One country that’s trying to end the practice of child marriage is Ethiopia. There, the Berhane Hewan programme, meaning ‘Light for Eve’ in Amharic, promises families a solar-powered light if their daughter remains unmarried and in school until she’s at least 18. This approach is known as a conditional asset transfer.

The solar lanterns enable girls to study after dark and they can also be used to charge mobile phones, which is particularly useful in remote areas with no electricity. Girls are taught to make money from the lanterns by charging neighbours to power up their mobile phones too.

People Fixing the World visits Dibate, a small village in western Ethiopia. More than 600 girls in this part of the country have received a solar lamp.

Reported by Lily Freeston
Produced by Ruth Evans and Hadra Ahmed

(Photo Credit: BBC)

Solar-powered lamps are giving girls independence and stopping them becoming child brides

Brilliant solutions to the world\u2019s problems. The people making the world a better place.

Stopping child marriage with solar lanterns2019072320190728 (WS)

It’s estimated that more than 100 million girls under the age of 18 will be married in the next decade.

One country that’s trying to end the practice of child marriage is Ethiopia. There, the Berhane Hewan programme, meaning ‘Light for Eve’ in Amharic, promises families a solar-powered light if their daughter remains unmarried and in school until she’s at least 18. This approach is known as a conditional asset transfer.

The solar lanterns enable girls to study after dark and they can also be used to charge mobile phones, which is particularly useful in remote areas with no electricity. Girls are taught to make money from the lanterns by charging neighbours to power up their mobile phones too.

People Fixing the World visits Dibate, a small village in western Ethiopia. More than 600 girls in this part of the country have received a solar lamp.

Reported by Lily Freeston
Produced by Ruth Evans and Hadra Ahmed

(Photo Credit: BBC)

Solar-powered lamps are giving girls independence and stopping them becoming child brides

Brilliant solutions to the world\u2019s problems. The people making the world a better place.

The concrete cleaners20190820

Concrete is the most used man-made product in the world but it comes with a heavy environmental price. Between 5% and 7% of the world's annual carbon emissions come from producing the cement that glues concrete together. Most of these climate-changing gases are released when a vital ingredient, limestone, is melted down in the manufacturing process. But one company has devised a new type of cement that only solidifies when you pump carbon dioxide into it. The gas becomes locked in as it turns to concrete. This is similar to the way carbon dioxide has been stored in rocks by nature over millions of years. As Nick Holland reports, it's one of the solutions the industry could use to mitigate its impact on the environment.

(Photo Credit: BBC)

Making cement that locks in carbon dioxide instead of releasing it into the atmosphere

Brilliant solutions to the world\u2019s problems. The people making the world a better place.

The concrete cleaners2019082020190825 (WS)

Concrete is the most used man-made product in the world but it comes with a heavy environmental price. Between 5% and 7% of the world's annual carbon emissions come from producing the cement that glues concrete together. Most of these climate-changing gases are released when a vital ingredient, limestone, is melted down in the manufacturing process. But one company has devised a new type of cement that only solidifies when you pump carbon dioxide into it. The gas becomes locked in as it turns to concrete. This is similar to the way carbon dioxide has been stored in rocks by nature over millions of years. As Nick Holland reports, it's one of the solutions the industry could use to mitigate its impact on the environment.

(Photo Credit: BBC)

Making cement that locks in carbon dioxide instead of releasing it into the atmosphere

Brilliant solutions to the world\u2019s problems. The people making the world a better place.

The Concrete Cleaners2019082020190825 (WS)

Concrete is the most used man-made product in the world but it comes with a heavy environmental price. Between 5% and 7% of the world's annual carbon emissions come from producing the cement that glues concrete together. Most of these climate-changing gases are released when a vital ingredient, limestone, is melted down in the manufacturing process. But one company has devised a new type of cement that only solidifies when you pump carbon dioxide into it. The gas becomes locked in as it turns to concrete. This is similar to the way carbon dioxide has been stored in rocks by nature over millions of years. As Nick Holland reports, it's one of the solutions the industry could use to mitigate its impact on the environment.

(Photo Credit: BBC)

Making cement that locks in carbon dioxide instead of releasing it into the atmosphere

Brilliant solutions to the world's problems. The people making the world a better place.

The Great Mosquito Swap20190409

Every year, it’s estimated that nearly 400 million people around the world are infected with dengue fever, a potentially fatal illness that’s passed on by mosquitoes.

No vaccine is effective at preventing people catching the disease, but what if the mosquitoes themselves were treated to stop them spreading it?

In one city that is severely affected – Medellin in Colombia — an ambitious project is underway to swap wild mosquitoes for a variety that is identical in every way, but with one crucial difference. These mosquitoes have been bred from specimens injected with bacteria that make it impossible to transmit not just dengue, but also the Zika and chikungunya viruses, and Yellow Fever.

Buoyed by successful projects in Australia, the World Mosquito Program is releasing millions of newly-minted mosquitoes across Medellin, in the hope that they will replace the wild population.

And to reassure the public, schoolchildren are being taught to love mosquitoes, and even to breed them — a message that contradicts what they’ve been brought up to believe.

Presenter: Tom Colls
Reporter / Producer: William Kremer

(Photo Caption: The Aedes Aegyptii Mosquito / Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Scientists are hoping to stop diseases spreading by changing the mosquito population

Brilliant solutions to the world's problems. The people making the world a better place.

The Reuse And Refill Revolution2019042320190428 (WS)

One idea is to take used containers back to the supermarkets where, in the future, giant vending machines could refill them.
But the scale of the challenge is huge and getting consumers to change their shopping habits will be hard.

Presenter: Tom Colls
Producer: Nick Holland

(Photo: A man refilling a plastic container. Credit: BBC)

Should we reuse and refill plastic packaging to limit the amount being thrown away?

Brilliant solutions to the world's problems. The people making the world a better place.

The School That Puts Wellbeing First2019070920190714 (WS)

On average, one in eight children in the UK has a mental health disorder – that’s about three children in every classroom. Yet there are just 4.5 psychiatrists for every 100,000 young people - that’s fewer than most other European countries. With the UK’s mental health provision for children so stretched, help often ends up coming from families and schools.

One school in London has actively taken up this challenge. Highgate Primary School has developed a unique system in which dozens of children can get one-to-one sessions with trainee therapists, while some struggling parents are also offered support. The school has redesigned its playground so children can find areas that fit their mood, and it has given over more time to activities such as gardening, cooking and drama.

Today’s programme features some of the children that have benefited from these ideas – but can other schools replicate them?

Reporter: William Kremer

(Photo Credit: BBC)

One primary school has found a way to deliver therapy to about 10% of its students

Brilliant solutions to the world's problems. The people making the world a better place.

On average, one in eight children in the UK has a mental health disorder – that’s about three children in every classroom. Yet there are just 4.5 psychiatrists for every 100,000 young people - that’s fewer than most other European countries. With the UK’s mental health provision for children so stretched, help often ends up coming from families and schools.

One school in London has actively taken up this challenge. Highgate Primary School has developed a unique system in which dozens of children can get one-to-one sessions with trainee therapists, while some struggling parents are also offered support. The school has redesigned its playground so children can find areas that fit their mood, and it has given over more time to activities such as gardening, cooking and drama.

Today’s programme features some of the children that have benefited from these ideas – but can other schools replicate them?

Reporter: William Kremer

(Photo Credit: BBC)

One primary school has found a way to deliver therapy to about 10% of its students

Brilliant solutions to the world's problems. The people making the world a better place.

An innovative new weekly programme looking at how we can solve the world's problems.

Brilliant solutions to the world's problems. The people making the world a better place.

The Tree Detectives Tackling Illegal Logging2019043020190505 (WS)

If you examine the atoms in a piece of wood, you can tell to the nearest 10km where it has come from. Environmental factors, such as the climate, affect trees as they grow and that signature remains in the wood after it is processed.

An international group of scientists is hoping to use this information to tackle illegal logging, which contributes to a loss of biodiversity and costs governments billions of dollars in lost revenues each year.

It’s thought that up to 30% of timber on the global market comes from illegally-sourced wood, and ends up as all sorts of items in shops around the world.

Now, stable isotope analysis is being used to identify the unique profile of these products. And when scientists find items don’t come from the place specified on the label, the information can be used to hold shops accountable.

We visit the wood archive at Kew Gardens and speak to experts using this technology to help stem the flow of illegally-smuggled timber and protect the planet’s endangered forests.

Presenter: Tom Colls
Reporter and Producer: Nicola Kelly

(Photo: Logging in the Amazon. Credit: Getty Images)

Scientists are building a database to help them tell exactly where wood has come from

Brilliant solutions to the world's problems. The people making the world a better place.

An innovative new weekly programme looking at how we can solve the world's problems.

Trieste\u2019s mental health \u2018revolution\u201920190716

Each year, mental health practitioners from around the world visit Trieste in Italy to see what they can learn from the city’s approach to mental illness.

In 1978, Trieste led a ‘revolution’ in Italian mental health care by closing its asylums and ending the restraint of patients. Today the city is designated as a ‘collaboration centre’ by the World Health Organization in recognition of its pioneering work.

Reporter Ammar Ebrahim visits Trieste to see how the system works - from the informal community centres where people can drop in and stay as long as they need, to the businesses that offer career opportunities for those who have been through the system.

We hear about the city’s policy of ‘no locked doors’, and ask how Trieste deals with patients other societies may deem ‘dangerous’.

Presenter: Tom Colls
Producer: Sam Judah

(Photo Caption: “Freedom is therapeutic” written on a wall in Trieste / Photo Credit: BBC)

How Italy\u2019s radical decision to close its mental asylums shaped the way we think today

Brilliant solutions to the world\u2019s problems. The people making the world a better place.

Trieste\u2019s mental health \u2018revolution\u20192019071620190721 (WS)

Each year, mental health practitioners from around the world visit Trieste in Italy to see what they can learn from the city’s approach to mental illness.

In 1978, Trieste led a ‘revolution’ in Italian mental health care by closing its asylums and ending the restraint of patients. Today the city is designated as a ‘collaboration centre’ by the World Health Organization in recognition of its pioneering work.

Reporter Ammar Ebrahim visits Trieste to see how the system works - from the informal community centres where people can drop in and stay as long as they need, to the businesses that offer career opportunities for those who have been through the system.

We hear about the city’s policy of ‘no locked doors’, and ask how Trieste deals with patients other societies may deem ‘dangerous’.

Presenter: Tom Colls
Producer: Sam Judah

(Photo Caption: “Freedom is therapeutic” written on a wall in Trieste / Photo Credit: BBC)

How Italy\u2019s radical decision to close its mental asylums shaped the way we think today

Brilliant solutions to the world\u2019s problems. The people making the world a better place.

Trieste's Mental Health \u2018revolution'2019071620190721 (WS)

Each year, mental health practitioners from around the world visit Trieste in Italy to see what they can learn from the city’s approach to mental illness.

In 1978, Trieste led a ‘revolution’ in Italian mental health care by closing its asylums and ending the restraint of patients. Today the city is designated as a ‘collaboration centre’ by the World Health Organization in recognition of its pioneering work.

Reporter Ammar Ebrahim visits Trieste to see how the system works - from the informal community centres where people can drop in and stay as long as they need, to the businesses that offer career opportunities for those who have been through the system.

We hear about the city’s policy of ‘no locked doors’, and ask how Trieste deals with patients other societies may deem ‘dangerous’.

Presenter: Tom Colls
Producer: Sam Judah

(Photo Caption: “Freedom is therapeutic” written on a wall in Trieste / Photo Credit: BBC)

How Italy's radical decision to close its mental asylums shaped the way we think today

Brilliant solutions to the world's problems. The people making the world a better place.

Each year, mental health practitioners from around the world visit Trieste in Italy to see what they can learn from the city’s approach to mental illness.

In 1978, Trieste led a ‘revolution’ in Italian mental health care by closing its asylums and ending the restraint of patients. Today the city is designated as a ‘collaboration centre’ by the World Health Organization in recognition of its pioneering work.

Reporter Ammar Ebrahim visits Trieste to see how the system works - from the informal community centres where people can drop in and stay as long as they need, to the businesses that offer career opportunities for those who have been through the system.

We hear about the city’s policy of ‘no locked doors’, and ask how Trieste deals with patients other societies may deem ‘dangerous’.

Presenter: Tom Colls
Producer: Sam Judah

(Photo Caption: “Freedom is therapeutic” written on a wall in Trieste / Photo Credit: BBC)

How Italy's radical decision to close its mental asylums shaped the way we think today

Brilliant solutions to the world's problems. The people making the world a better place.

Working Less For The Same Pay2019051420190519 (WS)

Matsuri Takahashi was 24 when she died. She took her own life after doing more than 100 hours overtime a month at a large advertising company in Japan.

She was a victim of karoshi - dying as a result of overwork. It’s a phenomenon that’s well known in Japan where stories of employees working ridiculously long hours – sometimes until four or five in the morning - are common.

The government has introduced a new law to limit overtime, although critics say it doesn’t go far enough and the whole working culture needs to change.

Working long hours doesn’t necessarily mean more work gets done, so elsewhere, a company in New Zealand has reduced hours without cutting pay. Staff are given a day off each week if they can get five days’ work done in four. Should we all be doing this?

Presenter: Nick Holland
Reporters: Jamie Ryan and Mariko Oi

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Some companies are cutting the hours their staff work but keeping their pay the same

Brilliant solutions to the world's problems. The people making the world a better place.

An innovative new weekly programme looking at how we can solve the world's problems.