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.
Pure Earth began implementing the Toxic Sites Identification Program (TSIP) in Kenya in 2009. In 2016, with continued funding from the EC and in partnership with UNIDO, Pure Earth expanded its work in the country, aiming to identify and screen contaminated sites with potential human health impact.
As of 2018, a total of 132 sites located in 8 regions, namely Central, Coast, Eastern, Nairobi Area, North-Eastern, Nyanza, Rift Valley, Western, have been identified. Investigators collected soil samples and measured levels of toxicity using an Xray Fluorescence (XRF) instrument. Sources of pollution included: mining, agriculture, used lead acid battery (ULAB) recycling, and dumpsites. Various key pollutants included lead, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, mercury, PCBs, pesticides, and VOCs.
Of these pollutants, lead was found in 61% of the sites, arsenic in 19%, elemental mercury in 8%, chromium in 4%, cadmium in 3%, chromium (Hex) in 1%, VOCs in 1%, PCBs in 1%, pesticides in 1%, and other pollutants in 1%.
Recommendations provided to the government of Kenya included:
- Conduct detailed assessments for sites displaying high concentrations of pollutants in order to better understand the distribution and magnitude of contamination, and to develop feasible and cost-effective remediation plans to address identified problems.
- Continue to use the ISS protocol to identify and assess additional sites in order to determine locations of contaminated sites in all seven regions of the country.
- Create a national assessment/inventory program based on the TSIP protocol.
- Continue to use the data in the existing TSIP database (www.contaminatedsites.org.) to make informed decisions about solving the country’s pollution problems.
- Conduct needs assessments to determine internal capacity and to identify priority areas.