>> Basra was once called the Venice of the Middle East, no longer. The Iraqi town's once elegant waterways have turned stagnant, making residents miserable and ill. Four million people are said to be in life threatening danger because of the putrid water.>>
> It's no longer a lifeline, it's a line of death.
Pollution levels are so high. Various pollutants can be found in the river, including germs, chemicals, toxic algae all coupled with unprecedented levels of salinity almost like that of sea water. It pretty much is sea water.>> Back in the 1960s, Basra did have a working sewage system, but the infrastructure broke down.
State officials point the finger at shortfalls in public funding since then, partly down to years of low oil prices. Basra was then hit especially hard during the string of ruinous wars to afflict Iran since the 1980s and it's clear the city hasn't yet recovered. With too much salt and sewage getting into the water, as many as 90,000 residents have been hospitalized.
However, there is hope. Thanks to a Japanese loan, work has started on a major water treatment plant and desalination complex. Completion was originally scheduled for the end of 2018, but the process has been delayed since protests broke out over the fetid water. The Japanese experts leaving after saying that they were threatened during the unrest.