Under Poisoned Skies

Production: BBC News
Country: UK
Year: 2023
Duration: 53'
Directed by: Jess Kelly

Under Poisoned Skies reveals the deadly impact of the oil giants’ toxic air pollution, which puts children at risk of cancer and endangers the planet with hidden greenhouse gas emissions.

The film is an incendiary investigation into modern sacrifice zones in Iraq, where oil companies’ profits are prioritised over human rights, human health, and the climate. It uncovers how the oil giants are flaring – burning waste gas during oil extraction – illegally close to communities.

The documentary team goes undercover inside the world’s second largest oil field, Rumaila, run by British oil giant BP, which is heavily guarded by militia and private security firms. Here we meet 18 year old leukaemia survivor Ali, living in a town where cancer is “as common as the flu”.

We follow environmental scientist Professor Shukri Hassan as he carries out the first ever pollution monitoring in Rumaila and other oilfield communities. These tests find extremely high levels of harmful chemicals in the air and in the bodies of children from these areas.

Using satellite data, we reveal that BP is not even counting emissions from Iraq – and that its emissions from just one oil field are more than the total it admits to flaring globally.

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