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Blacksmith Institute Newsletter: May 2009

Monthly Updates About Blacksmith's Global Pollution Remediation Work

The Blacksmith Institute is currently engaged in over 40 projects in 14 countries.  Since 1999, Blacksmith has successfully completed over 50 projects.

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Moving Forward with the Health and Pollution Fund

Blacksmith just returned from a successful trip and meetings with members of the Board of Directors and management staff of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) at their annual gathering in Bali. The agenda of the proposed $500 million Health and Pollution Fund (HPF) was discussed. ADB gave preliminary approval for a $1 million regional technical assistance grant to be used for the Global Inventory Project (GIP). The GIP (see below) is part of the Health and Pollution Fund, which aims to fight and eliminate toxic pollution in the developing world.

While in Indonesia, Blacksmith also met with local government agencies to plan a detailed inventory of toxic sites throughout the archipelago and to kick off new pollution remediation projects in Indonesia. These include efforts to prevent mercury contamination during gold mining and to fight lead poisoning from the improper recycling of used car batteries.

Global Inventory Project Underway in China and India

Following training sessions in Eastern Europe, Blacksmith has begun regional sessions in China and India to train investigators in Blacksmith's Initial Site Assessment protocol. Attendees, who have relevant backgrounds in the environmental sciences and toxicology, will join other "investigators" around the world in the hunt for polluted sites for the Global Inventory Project (GIP).

The GIP aims to identify and assess the majority of polluted places with clear human health impact across more than 80 countries in the developing world. It is a partnership between Blacksmith Institute and UNIDO with support from the European Commission and Green Cross Switzerland.

Tackling E-Waste and Lead Poisoning in Ghana

Blacksmith was in Ghana recently to investigate reports of haphazard e-waste dumping and lead poisoning due to the improper recycling of used car batteries. Executive Director Meredith Block and Blacksmith technical advisory board member, Jack Caravanos, director of the M.S. and M.P.H. program in Environmental and Occupational Health at Hunter College in New York City, met with local government officials and conducted site assessments.

Following a series of successful talks, plans are underway to start several projects in Ghana later in 2009--Blacksmith will work with Ghana's Health Service to initiate practical interventions for small scale waste recycling, and with Ghana's Environmental Protection Agency to help manage the recycling of used car batteries in the country.

In the News

"Concern about polluted places is growing as the world's population swells and people in developing countries such as China and India buy more goods like cars and electronics."--from Toxic Hotspots Affects 600 million in Developing World

"This is a finite problem. There are just thousands, not tens of thousands, of toxic hotspots around the world...It's something that we can solve in our lifetimes."--Blacksmith's Richard Fuller on the goal of the proposed $500 million Health and Pollution Fund. Fuller was interviewed at the Asian Development Bank's recent annual meeting in Bali, where he was building support for the fund.

Latest studies show that Reprogrammed Genes Due to Pollution Can Happen in as Little As 3 Days

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