TSIP Training Accra, Ghana
The Toxic Site Identification Program (TSIP) endeavors to identify and screen contaminated sites in low- and middle-income countries where public health is at risk. With more than 3,100 sites identified so far, and more than 1,800 screened on site, TSIP assists in understanding the scope of the problem. Analysis of the data and trends in the TSIP database indicates that as many as 200 million people may be affected.
In order to carry out site assessments, Pure Earth utilizes a network of national experts in each country to visit and document hazardous waste sites. These national investigators, often from the environment or health departments at a national university, are trained to identify and assess contaminated sites using a rapid assessment tool called the Initial Site Screening (ISS) protocol. The ISS identifies major elements of a contaminated site, including estimated population at risk, key pollutant information, human exposure pathway data and sampling data. As part of the training, a field visit is made by the group to demonstrate the methodology for assessing the human health impact of toxic sites.
All consultants are trained over two-day workshops held jointly with government representatives. The workshop is technical in nature and dedicated almost entirely to describing the ISS. A field visit is made by the group to demonstrate the methodology.
- March 22-23, 2012
Investigators present: 18
Government personnel present: 2
- May 2021
Investigators present: 29
The 2021 workshop had two purposes: 1) a small number of participants will be conducting site assessments as part of TSIP activities, and 2) to share environmental health information with interested participants.
The first day was classroom-based, learning about the scope and scale and impacts of lead pollution, globally and in Ghana. The group discussed how lead is released, sources of lead, how lead impacts the world and particularly Ghana and what can be done about it. They then took a deeper dive into health: how lead impacts the human brain, why it is particularly damaging to children, and a review of health statistics in Ghana and globally.
The workshop discussed how to get data about lead’s health impact, and explored pathways for lead into the human body–what happens when lead is in the body, and what happens during pregnancy.
The group then moved to discuss technical aspects of site assessment and the methodology that Pure Earth has developed.
Participants shared their own experiences and knowledge, and the group reviewed collection and storing of data.
On the second day, the workshop covered fieldwork at Kpone landfill site in Tema. Participants were divided into teams and did practice site assessments. Then they returned to the training venue and also took turns using an XRF to measure soil lead levels. Each team wrote up their site assessments and the group discussed the responses together, evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of their answers.