Pollution is one global problem that can be solved. We have solutions. #WeCanFightPollution.
Here are some highlights of our work around the world over the past 12 months. Thanks to our supporters, we are making an impact.
Toxic-free homes for the first time in 100 years
Neighborhood kids enjoying a lead-free yard for the first time in Kabwe.
In Kabwe, Zambia, where almost 100% of the children have lead poisoning, Pure Earth’s cleanup resulted in lead-free homes in the community for the first time in 100 years. In 2015, we remediated the contaminated yards of 79 homes. In 2016, we completed another 44 yards. Now children can play without the risk of being poisoned by lead. Learn more.
Addressing a state of emergency
Gold miners at a training session learning how to go mercury free.
Last year, Peru declared a state of emergency in Madre de Dios because of severe mercury contamination due to artisanal and small-scale gold mining. Our work in Peru teaching miners to go mercury free helps to directly address this crisis. About 200 miners were trained by Pure Earth in 2016 in various mining communities across Peru. This included Laberinto, a labyrinth of mines located in the dense rainforest of Madre de Dios, and Ollachea in the mountains of Puno. As part of our work model, some of the trained miners will go on to teach others, helping to transform even more mining communities.
Surpassing 1000 miners trained; Women taking the lead
Mrs. Mungun and her two children.
In Mongolia, we trained our 1000th gold miner last year. The ongoing project has been so successful over the past few years that we now have a waiting list of miners eager to learn how to go mercury free. The course changed the life of Mrs. Mungun, a single mother who turned to gold mining to feed her two children following the death of her husband and the loss of all her livestock over one hash winter. In Mongolia, women like Mrs. Mungun seem to be leading the charge in the push to go mercury free. They are among the most eager to learn, adopt, and train others in the community.
Freeing a city from a toxic legacy
These fun booklets teach parents and children in Kyrgyzstan about lead poisoning.
For decades, residents of remote Sovetskoe (Kan) in Kyrgyzstan did not realize that the strange red pallor covering their city was evidence of the toxic contamination that lurked everywhere. The poison was left behind by an old mine. Last year, Pure Earth launched an educational effort that reached parents, teachers and students, helping them to understand how to protect themselves and free their families from their city’s toxic legacy. In addition to raising awareness, the Pure Earth team also started remediations. Kindergartens and yards in the city were the first areas decontaminated. Learn more.
Reducing children’s blood lead levels by over 50%
In Vietnam, we received great news that children’s blood lead levels had fallen by over 50% since we began work in the toxic “craft” village of Dong Mai. The project was also a great example of partnerships. While Pure Earth conducted educational outreach and cleaned up 38 homes, local villagers and officials pulled together, following our model, to clean up an additional 67 homes and pave roads throughout the village to prevent the spread of toxic dust. Learn more.
Meet Molly Bair: Superstar Model, Pure Earth Pollution Fighter. After a quick lesson at Pure Earth’s office, Molly shows off her skills with the XRF–a handheld X-ray fluorescent analyzer that can identify toxic particles in soil in about 30 seconds.[/caption]
Pollution is one global problem that can be solved. Last year we helped to spread that message with more research, data, and news of our successful cleanups:
- Vogue announced Pure Earth’s new face of pollution fighting–international modeling sensation Molly Bair. Molly will help us increase awareness about global pollution, in particular gold’s connection with toxic mercury, among consumers and the jewelry/retail industry.
- Our pollution solutions were featured in NPR, The New York Times, The Guardian, and many other international news platforms.
- Most significantly, 2016 marked the year that our efforts with the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution and the Global Commission on Pollution and Health coalesced into a groundbreaking report to be released in The Lancet in 2017.
- We released our latest report, The World’s Worst Pollution Problems 2016: The Toxics Beneath Our Feet, published with Green Cross Switzerland.
CAMPAIGN FOR 10 MILLION LIVES
Photo: Larry C. Price
Last year saw the successful launch of our ambitious Campaign For 10 Million Lives. Thanks to campaign co-chairs Charlotte Triefus and Sheldon Kasowitz, and supporters like you, the campaign is on its way to raising over $10 million from 2016 to 2018 to:
- fund 35 new cleanups,
- conduct our new Health Pollution Planning Process in up to ten countries,
- expand our public education efforts so that this global public health crisis gets the attention it deserves.