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.
As of November 2018, a total of 61 sites have been assessed in Senegal under TSIP. Since then, Pure Earth’s TSIP investigators have assessed an additional 43 sites, including 8 lead sites in October and November 2019 in the Dakar region and 35 ASGM (artisanal small scale gold mining) mercury sites in December 2019 in the Kédougou region.
The concentrations of mercury recorded at the 35 ASGM sites were higher than the exposure limit value set by the WHO (50 µg Hg/m3). The highest concentrations of Hg were found at Bantaco with 397.2 µg Hg/m3 and Tomboronkoto with 345.1 µg Hg/m3. The higher levels were detected in the processing areas located in residential areas. The concentrations of mercury in air detected in public places at selected sites were also high compared to the WHO exposure limit value: 153.2 µg Hg/m3 at Guemedji located by the river, 100 to 150 µg Hg/m3 of Hg were measured in more than 12 samples by the Senegal River; 29.92 µg Hg/m3 at the level of the Moussala wells, 21.08 to 48.89 µg Hg/m3 at Mandancoly near shops, schools and other public places.
Pure Earth’s team, in collaboration with government officials, have already identified 38 new mercury sites to be assessed in the Kedougou and Tambacounda regions once government’s restrictions related to COVID-19 have been lifted.