Tanzania: TSIP (Toxic Sites Identification Program)
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.
From June 2017 to April 2020, Pure Earth implemented a new phase of the Toxic Sites Identification Program (TSIP) in Tanzania funded by the World Bank Group through the Pollution Management and Environmental Health (PMEH) Program.
The program consisted of on-site screening assessments of 150 sites suspected of chemical contamination. Assessments focused in large part on the impacts of artisanal small scale gold mining (ASGM), but also included industrial sources of contamination including agriculture, textile industries, and the pulp and paper industry.
This is the second phase of the TSIP program in Tanzania, which began in 2007, and comprises a total of more than 256 site assessments. The data from these assessments are held in a publicly accessible database at www.contaminatedsites.org.
As of April 2020, a total of 150 sites located in 29 districts in Tanzania have been assessed with funding from the PMEH. Four pollutants were identified across the selected sites—mercury, lead, chromium, and pesticides. Of these pollutants, mercury was found at 124 sites, pesticides at 18 sites. lead at 4 sites, chromium at 2 sites, cadmium at 1 site, and alachlor at 1 site.
Much effort was put into the screening of mercury sites at the request of the government and due to general public concerns that the close proximity of mercury sites to water bodies such as rivers, lakes, ponds, boreholes, springs, and farmland poses great health risks to surrounding communities.