This post is from Lara Crampe, Pure Earth’s regional director for Southeast Asia. She is currently in Zambia working with the team on the second phase of Pure Earth’s remediation project in the Chowa neighborhood of Kabwe.
This month our team is back at work in Kabwe, Zambia, a mining town in central Zambia where mine tailings, polluted run-off, and decades of lead dust have left the community exposed to dangerously high levels of lead.
Pure Earth is partnering with Environment Africa and the Kabwe Municipal Council to cover yards and gardens in the Chowa neighborhood of Kabwe with clean soil to reduce exposures to lead dust, particularly for the youngest children.
The partners covered 79 yards in 2015 and are targeting 44 yards this year.
The process is:
- Soil testing using an XRF to determine which neighborhoods are most at risk.
- Door to door conversations with residents about the dangers of lead and gaining permission to work in their yards.
- Smoothing yards, clearing debris, and deciding which areas must be covered with barrier fabric and clean soil.
- Weeks of dump trucks delivering clean soil, workers laying down barrier fabric, and then shoveling clean soil on top, and then more trucks delivering topsoil to allow for gardening and planting grass.
- Health education to teach the community about the dangers of lead and proper exposure mitigation techniques
Here is the first soil delivery of the week.
The yard covering in progress – debris cleared, barrier fabric installed, and clean soil placed on top. The next steps will be removing large stones, moving extra clean soil to the next home, adding black soil on top, and then planting grass.
Community meeting panelists – Chowa area councillor, Environment Africa staff, and Kabwe Municipal Council representatives meet to talk about the project.
Smiles from members of our local remediation team.