Richard Fuller in Rudnaya Pristan, listed in Blacksmith’s 2006 report as one of the world’s worst polluted places
Here we go, joining the digital age.
Welcome, all, to Blacksmith Institute’s blog about pollution, solutions to same, and everything related… A new way to chart our progress cleaning up pollution in the developing world.
Pollution in the developing world – are you kidding? Everyone knows you can’t fix that! Oh yeah? Look at how the U.S. and Europe have cleaned up the rivers, air and soil over the past decades. Now it’s time for the same in the poorer countries, and step by step, along the way, with partners from across the globe, Blacksmith is plugging away, cleaning up toxins. Making changes, saving lives.
It’s a big problem, affecting maybe one billion people. There are places contaminated with lead from smelters and mines, where thousands of kids are brain damaged. Industrial effluents that drain into drinking water sources. Dump sites contaminating food and water. E-waste, pesticides, POP’s, and radionuclides, air from factories that burn and destroy lungs. Each has its own health problems, reducing life expectancy and increasing disease.
But each have solutions. Each can be solved. It just takes time and attention, and it’s worth it. It’s a chance to make a difference in the lives of so many people; the poorest and most disenfranchised of all, especially women and children.
So, we are on the way and I will keep you updated on our progress.
On the Road
Here’s my first report from the road, where myself and Karti Sandilya, former Director General, Asian Development Bank, are currently on a world tour of sorts to build support for the work we do.
We are about a week in and I am completely exhausted. Karti and I are a bit burnt out from all these travels and meeting. It’s great to have a day to just hang in a hotel room, and handle the emails and reports. And I need a bit of headspace to settle down after finding out about a new contaminated site in Manila. Another lead battery smelter now abandoned and right in the middle of thousands of people. Worse, the regular floods in the area move the contaminated soils all through the community. I suspect that the recent disastrous typhoons and tropical storms did not help either. I just know we’ll find awful blood lead readings amongst the kids. Apparently, one local school has used the contaminated soil for its playgounds, and the lead levels there are off the charts.
Jenny (our Philippines coordinator) and I had a good meeting with the owner’s representative of the site, and I think we’ll be able to quickly put together a remediation program. At least, if all goes well, we can stop more kids being poisoned….
Founder & President, Blacksmith Institute