Solve pollution. Save lives. Protect the planet.

March 26, 2020

The global coronavirus pandemic has made one thing clear — we are a global family. No matter where you live, we all call this planet home. We will get through this together.

Until we can gather again in person, please stay connected with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, where we will be sharing updates and resources, including webinars and videos, over the coming weeks and months.

In the meantime, here is a look at how the crisis is affecting our team members across the world, and how they are continuing to work through this crisis.

  • Comments below are personal, figures mentioned have not been verified.

Philippines , Colombia, Ukraine, Russia, Indonesia, Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, India, Armenia, Peru, Azerbaijan, Far East Russia, Tajikistan, Mexico.


Larah with daughters Liel and Libby, taken after her last face-to-face meeting with a local government partner in early March.

My family and I just survived the Taal volcano eruption and things are getting back to normal. It was a tough choice whether to stay put or fly to our comfort zone – our home province of Palawan. But we decided to stay put so we can walk alongside the people in our church, in our homeschooling community, in our neighbourhood, and to continue our Pure Earth work as we go through this ordeal. In such a time as this, selflessness rather than self-centeredness is needed more than ever. We all need to care not just for ourselves but for others!

Everyone at Pure Earth Philippines is working from home now. Before, we were organizing our Earth Day activities, coordinating implementation of community-based infrastructure projects as the HSBC Water Programme wraps up, finishing data reports for our Toxic Sites Identification Program in preparation for our local government workshops and thinking through exciting things we want to do next as a team to carry our mission forward. But now everything has been postponed for the moment with regards to Pure Earth’s work in the field because of covid-19. We are working on reports mostly and corresponding with our partners in matters that pertain to our work, and even to matters that will help them survive this pandemic, like forwarding access to free sanitation tent designers.

To be honest, our country is scrambling to flatten the line. But I choose to celebrate everyday heroes and look at the bright side! Praying for everyone’s safety and hoping that we all will emerge better people out of this. This virus has a purifying effect. The earth is able to breathe at this time, too.

— Larah Ortega Ibañez, Pure Earth Philippines


Alfonso with his daughter.

Even with local restrictions and no school, I am continuing to work for the health benefit of polluted communities in Colombia, but from home with my family around me.

— Alfonso Rodriquez, Pure Earth Colombia


Valeriia is her cosy home office.

In Ukraine, we have national quarantine until April, 3rd, but officials say that it might be longer taking into account the epidemiological situation in Europe. The Cabinet of Ministers suspended all intercity passenger transportation and limited urban transportation to 10 people in one transport. Supermarkets, shops, drug stores are working but it is also limited to not more than 10 people, and if you are in a line, the distance should be one meter.

Personally I am working from home and I found that for myself, it’s cool because you can do more than in the office. You just need self discipline! I wish you all stay calm and healthy!

— Valeriia Kovach, Pure Earth Ukraine


Petr in his home office, which he built himself.

I am working from home and continuing to do a lot of project management, but traveling is not possible at the moment. I intended to go to Tajikistan, Mongolia, and Armenia at the end of April-May to conduct meetings and check in on our ongoing projects but now we have to postpone those trips until the borders reopen and flights resume. I just finished building my house which has everything I need — solar power, a water collection system, and more. So I am prepared to stay home.

— Petr Sharov, Regional Director, Eastern Europe, Central Asia


Budi working from home with her nephew Beryl.

Meetings with government and non-government partners in Indonesia have been cancelled or postponed until further notice, except ones we can do virtually. The government advice for social distancing and to work from home have given me extra time to do reports, and review proposals and work plans. Work remains, and now I have more time with family 🙂 Please stay safe and healthy!

— Budi Susilorini, Pure Earth Indonesia


In Mongolia, Erdene tells us no one is allowed to appear in pubic without a face mask.

Mongolia shares one of longest borders with China — 4,710 km. Therefore, we have more risk of being affected by coronavirus. Since January 20, Mongolia has taken a strict policy restricting movements internationally and internally. Mongolia has closed its border with China and all transportation has been closed for three months.

Since the first coronavirus affected person arrived in Mongolia on March 6 from France, the movement restriction policy was strengthened and no one is allowed to appear publicly without a face mask. Most businesses are closed and people are working from home. Currently there are six coronavirus-affected persons, who arrived from outside of Mongolia and are now being treated in hospitals. Despite this, I am working in the office because my home is nearby. We are advised to stay within our home location and not to go into the field.

I wish my dear friends and colleagues stay healthy during this difficult time and I hope it will not last long!

— Erdene Naidansuren, Pure Earth Mongolia


Indira works from home.

In Kyrgyzstan I know of three confirmed cases of coronavirus –people who went to Mecca. We are expecting new information every day. All schools, colleges and kindergartens are closed. All gatherings are forbidden and the authorities recommend staying home, but people come to the streets anyway. The weather is very nice. I am working from home, so this is not a problem for me. We just celebrated Nooruz (the New Year, first day of  spring), but there were no usual festivities.

— Indira Zhakipova, Pure Earth Kyrgyzstan


Go Team India! Promila (top left) and Jayapriya (bottom) chat with Emily in the Pure Earth New York office. We’re staying connected virtually.

In India, we are currently under phase three of this pandemic and given the scale of population and population density we have, we are following social distancing. We (Jayapriya in Chennai and me in Delhi) have been working from home for about a week. We have suspended all work plans, in-person meetings, field visits, etc. until March 31, 2020, as we are under lockdown following government orders. We had planned to re-group again in the first week of April, however, the situation does not look like it will improve. However, we are making best use of our time to complete our backlog of reports and doing desk research.

I am sincerely sending healing energies and blessings to you all, your families, and all our colleagues the world over!

— Promila Sharma Malik, Pure Earth India


In Armenia, the Government has announced a state of emergency. As of March 23, we have 194 infected people, 2 cured, no deaths. The schools, universities, shops (which are not selling food or household goods), cafes/restaurants are closed. Almost everyone (where possible) is working from home. Me too, of course.

Here is a link to several photos that show how Yerevan Municipality is disinfecting public transport and the metro.

Happy Nowruz (New Year) to all those who celebrate!

— Aelita Sargsyan, Pure Earth, Armenia


France’s three children “never leaving me alone to work during the day.”

On March 15, a 90-day state of emergency was declared nationwide in Peru. This was followed by the closure of Peruvian airports and borders on March 21. On Monday, March 16, the “quarantine” or voluntary isolation began, originally only lasting until March 31 and now extended until April 12. There is also a “curfew” in place from 6:00 pm to 5:00 am, enforced by the Peruvian Armed Forces and National Police.

Gold miners must abide by these measures and have theoretically stopped operating during this period. However, it is not known if miners have stopped working in very remote areas. Unfortunately, more than 70% of Peru’s working population is informal, and most of them earn money from their daily outdoor work, so these measures have severely affected the population.

Working at home is more difficult than it seems! With three children, the most productive time for me is almost always in the early morning. We are planning to carry out virtual trainings on responsible mine closures in the Amazon for officials and/or miners who have internet access. During the training, we will share the successful experiences we have already had in mining concessions. We are also planning a digital interview with the president of the mining association where we work (the AMATAF association) to hear her story.

— France Cabanillas, Pure Earth Peru


Rovshan’s son Emil doing his homework online.

All schools and universities are closed. I am teaching two online classes on soil science and water resources management at my university. We are all online now, including my son.

State employees are on a one-month leave. Public transport between the cities is completely stopped. Travel from one city to another is restricted. People over the age of 65 are prohibited from going out. Only grocery stores and pharmacies are open. Anyone arriving in the country must remain quarantined for at least 14 days. The state is currently working on additional measures.

— Rovshan Abbasov, Pure Earth Azerbaijan


Alena working at home with her son and new-born baby.

Greetings from the Far East of Russia. There are no confirmed cases in our area (Primorsky Region) so far. But we are on high alert mode as a preventive measure. All those who come from abroad are required to undergo a two-week quarantine at home. Many events are canceled, schools are closed, sports sections are limited by the number of participants. Many people work from home.

As for my family, my husband goes to work because he works at a power station. But administrative staff work from home whenever possible. My son is a second grader. He studies from home. I help him. My daily schedule has not changed much. For the last couple of months I have been working from home because of my new baby 🙂

Now it’s a little more complicated, because I have to be a teacher for the eldest son as well. I wish you good health!!!!

— Alena Temnikova, Pure Earth Russia


Umed, 4th from left, with colleagues in Tajikistan.

Tajikistan is the only country in Central Asia that, so far, that has not fallen into the zone of influence of the virus. We celebrated the spring holiday of Navruz – New Year – according to the Zoraastrian calendar. But still, people are afraid to go out often. Streets and parks have very few people. From March 21 to March 26, people in the country had a rest period, but we are all back at work on March 27. Work continues as usual. We signed an agreement with UN FAO to conduct an investigation of an additional 58 toxic pollution sites. We should start work on this in April 2020.

— Ulugov Umidjon Amonovich (Umed), Pure Earth Tajikistan


In Mexico we are in quarantine until April 30th, so we are working from home, only going out to buy groceries. Our training workshops to help artisanal potters go lead-free is on hold for now. But we are in contact remotely with potters we work with, who have already gone lead-free, to help them sell their wares online, since many are now having problems with low sales.

— Daniel Estrada, Pure Earth Mexico

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