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What’s on TV: Friday, August 16

Equator from the Air

SBS, 7.30pm

In the final episode of this excellent documentary series, cameraman Gordon Buchanan is in our backyard – Indonesia and Malaysia – as he completes his circumnavigational “health check” of the globe. The title here is a bit misleading. The whole “from the air” thing has become its own subgenre, and while the long view does provide a valuable perspective, you sometimes feel the lack of detail. In this series, however, we actually spend a lot of time on the ground, then take to the skies to get a fresh look, and the combination is very effective.

Cameraman Gordon Buchanan is in our backyard for this episode of Equator from the Air.

Cameraman Gordon Buchanan is in our backyard for this episode of Equator from the Air.

It’s not news to anyone in Australia that both Malaysia and Indonesia are incredibly densely populated, but still, the facts are startling. At 30 million, Jakarta’s population is more than the whole of Australia. Close to half a billion people are trying to make a living in this strip of the planet, putting both humans and the natural environment under enormous pressure. This episode looks at the way aerial technology is being used to ameliorate problems, bringing a spark of optimism to light the gloom.

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