Save a Life this December
That's because for the month of December, your contribution will be doubled with a matching grant from Blacksmith's board. So in 5 days, your contribution of $5 a day would be worth $50! Blacksmith's pollution cleanup can save a life for as little as $42.
So please consider taking our $5 a Day December Holiday Challenge.
People always wonder what to give someone who has eveything. This is the gift that can be everything for someone.
There's still time to save a life, or two. Thank you for your generosity.
-- Richard Fuller, President, Blacksmith Institute
Last year, Blacksmith began an ambitious project to find, map and document the majority of the world's worst polluted places with human health impact. The Global Inventory Project (GIP) is the first comprehensive database of its kind. A worldwide effort is being planned to clean up the sites identified. To date, about 1/3 of the inventory project has been completed.
Have you ever wondered what it takes to build such a global inventory? Here are some numbers behind the project to date:
"Currently, a worldwide list of sites where pollution is acutely affecting human health does not exist," says Bret, the task manager for Blacksmith's Global Inventory Project. "This makes estimating the population at risk very difficult."
Armed with GPS devices, Bret and his team are assessing some 3000 sites in more than 60 countries. Even now, there are still some sites that shock him, like the Gorlovka chemical factory, which he came upon earlier this year.
"This site was flooring. It was almost entirely abandoned, but filled with ammonia, TNT and an extremely lethal substance called MNCB used in chemical weaspons. All of this was within 100 yards of a city of 300,000 people. It is a huge potential catastrophe."
A practical idealist, Bret came to Blacksmith with a Masters degree from the London School of Economics. "I studied the use of charcoal, which causes a massive amount of indoor air pollution in poor countries." But at Blacksmith, he notes, he's come to realize the true scope of pollution. "Based on our global inventory, we estimate that more than 100 million people are acutely affected."
"Gathering information is the first step in cleaning all these polluted sites," says Bret. "In many of these places, kids are the most severely affected. I am always sad when I see a smiling child who has tested above the allowable limits for toxins like lead because I know her life is compromised."
The Global Inventory Project has brought Bret an added benefit -- a worldwide network of friends. "Blacksmith's local coordinators are amazingly dedicated but don't get much attention," says Bret. "Pollution does not necessarily jump to mind when many people think about public health threats in poor countries. Our challenge is to articulate the scope of the global pollution problem."
Photo: Bret Ericson (far right) at the announcement of the donation of leadcare blood testing equipment in Mexico.
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