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Georgia: Protecting Every Child’s Potential

the details…
Key pollutant
Lead
Date started
2020
Project Partners

UNICEF, Global Alliance on Health and Pollution, Clarios Foundation

Pure Earth has brought together major partners, including UNICEF, Clarios Foundation, and the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution, to implement the ambitious “Protecting Every Child’s Potential” initiative (PECP), funded by the Clarios Foundation, to significantly reduce lead exposures in low- and middle-income countries. PECP is a four-year, $15M USD, ground-breaking project that will operate in, and share lessons across, five countries: Bangladesh, Georgia, Ghana, Indonesia, and Mexico. PECP funding from Clarios Foundation has been provided to Pure Earth and UNICEF separately for each organization’s distinct but coordinated activities.

Data from recent studies showed that BLLs of children in Georgia are among the highest in Eastern Europe, which indicates elevated risk of lead poisoning (Georgia Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2018: Survey Findings Report, 2019).

In the past two decades, several possible lead sources have been identified in Georgia, but few have been thoroughly investigated. Spices is the most common source linked to child lead poisoning in Georgia and the highest priority source for further investigation. Of particular interest are loose unbranded marigold-containing spices and mixes adulterated with lead chromate and sold informally at local agrarian markets or bazaars. Other plausible sources include products like paints and toys. Industrial point sources of pollution that may contaminate the air and soil include mining, coal production, and possibly lead-acid battery recycling or the automotive industry, although less is known about these.

With the support of Clarios Foundation, Pure Earth will work in Georgia to:

  • identify and assess sites and products contaminated with lead;
  • educate communities about the dangers of lead and how to protect themselves;
  • conduct remediation projects in contaminated communities to reduce or eliminate sources of lead exposures;
  • train government representatives and other stakeholders to identify, assess, and mitigate lead contamination;
  • provide technical guidance to lead acid battery recyclers and other industry representatives to ensure environmentally sound practices; and
  • provide policy recommendations to provincial and national governments to protect workers and community members from lead exposures.
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