On October 20, just days before we launched our global outreach for International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (ILPPW), we received word that Pure Earth President Richard Fuller was being recognized as one of Vox’s Future Perfect 50, honoring individuals building a more perfect future. In Richard’s case, it was a nod to his 20 years of unrelenting work focused on reducing lead poisoning and other toxic pollution. Our global teams went on to make news on their own for ILPPW. Here are some highlights:
In Bangladesh, hundreds of young students and other activists rallied to form a human chain at the National Press Club to raise awareness and demand action on lead pollution. The event was organized by Pure Earth Bangladesh and the Environment and Social Development Organization (ESDO) in collaboration with the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), UNICEF, icddr,b, and IEDCR.
The Pure Earth team in Bangladesh also organized a film screening with the Center for Atmospheric Pollution Studies (CAPS) of Stamford University, Bangladesh, with support from DGHS, PMR, IEDCR, icddr,b, ESDO, Clarios Foundation, and UNICEF. The audience gathered to watch the story of Naima and her birds, to learn the impact of lead pollution in her village, and how the problem was solved.
Other outreach events included a social media campaign, and a seminar attended by the Honorable Minister (Mr Shahab Uddin, MP), Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
The success of the team’s efforts to raise awareness about lead poisoning in Bangladesh can be seen in the many pieces of local news coverage, including this Op-Ed and this key piece of reporting: Lead Poisoning: Pure Earth Wants Us To Be Worried.
In India, Richard sat down with CNBC’s Poddar Nisha on her show “Big Deal” to discuss lead poisoning with leaders of India’s battery industry. This was significant for our work in India, where about half of the children have elevated blood lead levels, in part due to lead pollution from unsafe lead-acid battery recycling. Pure Earth board member Tabassum Inamdar summed it up in her opinion piece “Lead Emission & Corporate Action.”
The Pure Earth India team also took their message directly to the people on the streets, on the beach, at work, in malls, and in villages. They then amplified the campaign on social media reaching over a million people
In Ghana, the Pure Earth team built on momentum from last year’s ILPPW, returning to the Tema Parents’ Association school, home to the first Pure Earth school club, to engage in a day-long event with performances, educational games, and awards to drive home the message of lead poisoning and prevention.
The team also held events at the Ghana Institute of Journalism, where the next generation of reporters will emerge with a better understanding of toxic lead’s impact. About 300 students participated in an event organized by Curious Minds Ghana in partnership with UNICEF Ghana and Pure Earth Ghana. Watch now.
In the Philippines, Pure Earth marked the progress of the country’s first ever national blood lead level monitoring effort with a video telling the behind-the-scenes story of how local government officials and health experts collaborated with Pure Earth to launch this massive effort.
In Mexico, the Pure Earth Mexico team joined colleagues in India and Bangladesh to bring the social media #LeadSolutions campaign into the streets to raise awareness and connect with residents. Watch the Yo Soy #SoluciónAlPlomo outreach.
Globally, Pure Earth premiered “Films from the field,” a series of three shorts showing the impact of lead on a family, a community, and an entire country.
These screenings were followed by discussions and Q&As with global experts, including Dr. Howard Hu, one of the country’s leading experts in environmental health; Brian Wilson with the International Lead Association; and Dr. Paromita Hore, who leads an ongoing lead poisoning and exposure source identification program for the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Audiences worldwide also tuned in to a special podcast with Pure Earth and Vital Strategies that posed the question “What If Childhood Lead Poisoning was a Global Priority?”
These are just some of the highlights of Pure Earth’s 2022 ILPPW campaign. With outreach like this, lead poisoning, which affects 1 in 3 children worldwide, is starting to receive the attention and support it deserves to address this very solvable problem.