Pure Earth’s TSIP (Toxic Sites Identification Program) identifies and assesses contaminated sites in low- and middle-income countries, where public health is at risk. Pure Earth-trained local TSIP investigators visit and document sites using the Initial Site Screening (ISS) protocol. The data is then reviewed and entered into Pure Earth’s TSIP database of polluted sites, which helps governments understand, prioritize and address pollution in their countries.
The TSIP in Bangladesh began in 2011. Since then, several phases of the Program funded by different development partners have been completed. As of May 2020, more than 300 site assessments have been completed. The data from these assessments are held in a publicly accessible database at www.contaminatedsites.org.
While some of these phases looked at a broad spectrum of chemical contaminants, more recent phases have focused specifically on lead contamination.
Bangladesh faces significant challenges from lead. Childhood lead poisoning is believed to be widespread in Bangladesh, and prevents exposed children from reaching their full intellectual potential. Much of the lead that contaminates sites in Bangladesh is believed to be released during the informal manufacturing and recycling of lead-acid batteries. To better understand full impacts of this informal industry, Pure Earth has concentrated its TSIP program on this particular source, with the aim of developing sufficient data and understanding to contribute meaningfully to a national solution.
In the spring of 2020, Pure Earth implemented a new phase of the Toxic Sites Identification Program (TSIP) in Bangladesh funded by the Pollution Management and Environmental Health (PMEH) Program of the World Bank Group.
The program consisted of on-site screening assessments at 56 sites suspected of chemical contamination of soil or water in the administrative divisions of Chittagong, Rangpur and Dhaka. Assessments focused on industrial sources of contamination including gold recycling; tannery operations; textile and dye operations; product manufacturing; chemical manufacturing; lead-acid battery manufacturing and repair; shipbreaking and repair; brick-making kilns; e-waste recycling; paper mills; mining and ore processing; and metal recycling.