Earth Day 2010: 40 Years On In The U.S., Day 1 In The Developing World.
"On the first Earth Day, celebrated 40 years ago this month, the U.S. was a poisoned nation," wrote Time magazine's Bryan Walsh in his Earth Day piece The Perils of Plastic. Air and water pollution was rampant, DDT was still in use, and landmark federal actions were still to come.
Today, the U.S. is a much cleaner country. But in the developing world, it is still Day 1 in the fight for a toxic-free environment.
[Watch our special Earth Day video - The Story of Lead - below]
In many poor countries, resources are just not there to do real cleanup and families live everyday with amounts of toxins that are unacceptable in the West. There is still unregulated dumping, little awareness of pollution issues, and a continuing struggle between economic development and environmental concerns.
As we celebrate Earth Day's 40th anniversary, let us make an effort to push cleanup in the developing world past the Day 1 stage.
In the next few weeks, we will be launching a small campaign, which subscribers to our newsletter will receive. We hope you will be moved to learn and do more to help. Thank you.
-- Richard Fuller, President, Blacksmith Institute
In This Issue:
This special Earth Day video documents lead poisoning, one of the world's worst pollution problems, and cleanup in 4 sites around the world. The Story of Lead takes you to Haina in the Dominican Republic, where almost the entire population shows signs of lead poisoning, to Senegal, where the contamination is killing children, to Rudnaya Pristan, where a massive cleanup effort is targeting schools and playgrounds, and to Mexico, where potters are being persuaded to switch from traditional lead-based glazes, which are poisoning their families.
A Blacksmith team just returned from Ghana, where they conducted new assessments of the notorious Agbogbloshie market--a huge food and recyclers market in Central Accra with a big e-waste problem. Blacksmith Technical Advisory Board member Jack Caravanos brought along two of his graduate students from CUNY's School of Public Health to take some air samples. The following is an extract of Jack's first-hand account of what he saw.
"...all the reports you may have read about this place is true. Where else in the world can you find people dismantling computers, automobile engines, refrigerators and the like mixed in with a wholesale vegetable market, dozens of food vendors, a large mosque and the infamous copper wire burning site, which produces large volumes of toxic black smoke that lingers in the air all day. All this is happening in what appears to be a random, chaotic structure (while there are no street signs, vendor signs or directory, it is actually quite well organized and profitable to the vendors.)"
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