Founded in 1999, the Blacksmith Institute which changed its name to Pure Earth on March 10, 2015 is an international not-for-profit organization dedicated to solving life-threatening pollution in the developing world. It identifies and cleans up the world's worst polluted places focusing primarily on contaminated sites and soil. Over the last decade it has removed toxic soil pollution from 75 sites in 20 countries, focusing on communities where children are most at risk.
In 2014, Blacksmith launched a new initiative - Blacksmith Institute for a Pure Earth - with actor Dev Patel as celebrity ambassador. Patel worked closely with Blacksmith to suggest the new name, and will help support efforts to raise awareness about toxic pollution, an issue he says he first grew aware of after filming in India. Blacksmith will slowly transition to a new name - Pure Earth - in order to broaden awareness of global toxic pollution issues to the general public.
In 2011 Blacksmith was recognized with the UN-backed Green Star Award for its dedication to solving pollution problems in low and middle income countries, where human health is at risk. In 2010, Blacksmith founder Richard Fuller was profiled in Time magazine's "Power of One" column In 2014, Bloomberg Businessweek chronicled Blacksmith/Pure Earth's growth and work around the world, including a dangerous cleanup of a secret Soviet arms site in the Ukraine.
Blacksmith is known for its annual World's Worst Polluted Places Reports, The Pollution Blog, the creation of the Blacksmith Index (used around the world to rate levels of health risk from pollution), and for the Blacksmith database, the only resource of its kind, which currently documents over 600 of the world's worst polluted places. This Polluted Places Initiative identifies polluted sites throughout the world by means of an online nomination process.
Blacksmith is currently expanding their database with the Toxics Sites Identification Program, formerly known as Global Inventory Project.
- 1 The GAHP (Global Alliance on Health and Pollution)
- 2 World's Worst Polluted Places Reports
- 2.1 2013 report: Top Ten Toxic Threats in 2013: Cleanup, Progress, and Ongoing Challenges
- 2.2 2012 report: The Top Ten Sources by Global Burden of Disease
- 2.3 2011 report: The Top Ten of the Toxic Twenty
- 2.4 2010 report: Top Six Toxic Threats
- 2.5 2009 report: 12 Cases of Cleanup and Success
- 2.6 2008 report: Top Ten World's Worst Pollution Problems
- 2.7 2006 and 2007 reports: Top Ten World's Worst Polluted Places
- 3 How Blacksmith Works
- 4 References
- 5 External links
The GAHP (Global Alliance on Health and Pollution)
In July 2012, Blacksmith convened a third meeting of world leaders and experts on pollution at the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Center in Italy to develop an action plan to tackle toxic pollution in low- and middle-income countries. The newly formed Global Alliance on Health and Pollution (GAHP) is the first alliance of its kind to respond to the threat of toxic pollution on a worldwide scale. Blacksmith serves as Secretariat for the GAHP, which is supported by the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and UNIDO, among other agencies. Blacksmith began coordinating an international effort to create a global alliance in 2008. The effort was formerly called the Health and Pollution Fund.
World's Worst Polluted Places Reports
Since 2006, Blacksmith Institute's yearly reports have been instrumental in increasing public understanding of the health impacts posed by the world's worst polluted places, and in some cases, have compelled cleanup work at these sites. Previous reports have identified the top ten world's worst polluted places or pollution problems. The 2009 report focuses on 12 Cases of Cleanup and Success. Blacksmith reports have been issued jointly with Green Cross Switzerland since 2007.
2013 report: Top Ten Toxic Threats in 2013: Cleanup, Progress, and Ongoing Challenges
The report presents a new list of the top ten polluted places and provides updates on sites previously published by Blacksmith and Green Cross.
The World's Worst Polluted Places in 2013 (unranked):
- Agbogbloshie, Ghana
- Chernobyl*, Ukraine
- Citarum River, Indonesia
- Dzerzhinsk, Russia*
- Hazaribagh Thana, Bangladesh
- Kabwe*, Zambia
- Kalimantan, Indonesia
- Matanza River, Argentina
- Niger River Delta, Nigeria
- Norilsk*, Russia
(*included in the original 2006 or 2007 lists)
2012 report: The Top Ten Sources by Global Burden of Disease
- Battery Recycling
- Lead Smelting
- Mining and Ore Processing
- Industrial/Municipal Dumpsites
- Industrial Estates
- Artisanal Gold Mining
- Product Manufacturing
- Chemical Manufacturing
- Dye Industry
2011 report: The Top Ten of the Toxic Twenty
The report lists the worst toxic pollution problems according to human health impact. The evaluation is based on data collected by the Blacksmith Institute and the Swiss Green Cross.
Top Ten Worst Toxic Pollution Problems:
- Artisanal Gold Mining - Mercury
- Industrial Estates - Lead
- Agricultural Production- Pesticides
- Lead Smelting - Lead
- Tannery Operation - Chromium
- Mining and Ore Processing - Mercury
- Mining and Ore Processing - Lead
- Lead-Acid Battery Recycling - Lead
- Naturally Occurring Arsenic in Ground Water - Arsenic
- Pesticide Manufacturing and Storage - Pesticide
2010 report: Top Six Toxic Threats
The report identifies and quantifies the impacts of the most damaging toxic pollutants. The Top Six Toxic Threats are:
2009 report: 12 Cases of Cleanup and Success
- Improving indoor air - Accra, Ghana
- Preventing mining pollution - Candelaria, Chile
- Lowering radioactivity - Chernobyl, Ukraine
- Cleaning urban air - Delhi, India
- Removing lead - Haina, Dominican Republic
- Recapturing mercury - Kalimantan, Indonesia
- Reducing lead - Rudnaya Pristan, Russia
- Removing DDT - Old Korogwe, Tanzania
- Restoring a waterway - Shanghai, China
- Removing arsenic - West Bengal, India
- Phasing out leaded gasoline - Worldwide
- Ending chemical weapons - Worldwide
2008 report: Top Ten World's Worst Pollution Problems
- Artisanal Gold Mining
- Contaminated Surface Water
- Indoor Air Pollution
- Industrial Mining Activities
- Groundwater Contamination
- Metals Smelting and Processing
- Radioactive Waste and Uranium Mining
- Untreated Sewage
- Urban Air Quality
- Used Lead Acid Battery Recycling
2006 and 2007 reports: Top Ten World's Worst Polluted Places
As of September 2007, the Institute lists the following as the world's ten most polluted places (in alphabetical order by country):
- Sumqayit, Azerbaijan
- Linfen, China
- Tianying, China
- Sukinda, India
- Vapi, India (Update: Removed from list due to significant improvements)
- La Oroya, Peru
- Dzerzhinsk, Russia
- Norilsk, Russia
- Chernobyl, Ukraine
- Kabwe, Zambia
- Godwin, Kenya
- Matanza, Argentina
- Hazaribagh Thana, India
- DongYangHuaxi, China
- Lanzhou, China
- Urumqi, China
- Wanshan, China
- Haina, Dominican Republic
- Oriente, Ecuador
- Mahad Industrial Estate, India
- Ranipet, India
- Ust-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan
- Mailuu-Suu, Kyrgyzstan
- Mexico City, Mexico
- Huancavelica, Peru
- Meycauayan, Philippines
- Marilao, Philippines
- Bratsk, Russia
- Chita, Russia
- Magnitogorsk, Russia
- Rudnaya Pristan, Russia
The Institute has operated in China since 2002.
World's "Dirty 30"
In its 2007 report, The World’s Worst Polluted Places issued on September 16, the Blacksmith Institute included Meycauayan and Marilao in Bulacan, Philippines, in the list of the world’s thirty most polluted places in the developing world. It stated: "Industrial waste is haphazardly dumped into the Marilao, Meycauayan, and Obando River system, a source of drinking and agricultural water supplies for the 250,000 people living in and around” the Meycauayan-Marilao area."
How Blacksmith Works
Blacksmith works cooperatively around the world in partnerships that include governments, the international community, NGOs and local agencies to design and implement innovative, low-cost pollution solutions that save lives. Blacksmith provides strategic, technical, and financial support to local champions working for the betterment of their communities.
The priority of Blacksmith is to work in locations throughout the developing world where human health is most affected by pollution. Its programs involve a multi-step process that includes:
- identifying polluted places in the developing world with nominations received from members of the international community and through the internet;
- assessing the health risks at those locations;
- and designing and implementing a remediation strategy tailored to the specifics of the site in question, using local champions to implement the project in a cooperative fashion.
- "Six UN-backed green awards handed out for work in disasters". UN News Centre. 18 May 2011. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
- Walsh, Bryan (18 October 2010). "Power of One". TIME Magazine. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
- Harvey, Fiona (2007-09-12). "Planet’s most polluted sites unveiled". The Financial Times.
- "Blacksmith Institute Leads International Partnership To Build World's First Global Inventory Of Polluted Sites". Blacksmith Institute. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
- "A Global Alliance for a Toxics-Free World".
- "Incubating Ideas for Change at the Bellagio Center". Pollution Blog. Blacksmith Institute. 18 April 2012. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
- "New Global Alliance Seeks To Tackle Toxic Pollution Hotspots". Blacksmith Institute. 30 July 2012. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
- "Health and Pollution Fund". Retrieved 21 November 2013.
- "Global Alliance on Health and Pollution". Retrieved 21 November 2013.
- Dolan, David (5 May 2009). "Toxic hotspots affect 600 million in developing world". Reuters. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
- "Worst Polluted". Retrieved 21 November 2013.
- Rudolf, John Collins (29 October 2009). "Report Notes Few Toxic Cleanup Successes". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
- Leahy, Stephen (29 October 2009). "A Dozen Countries Take on Toxic Pollution". North America Inter Press Service. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
- Biello, David (29 October 2009). "Can the World's Most Polluted Places Ever Be Cleaned?". Scientific American. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
- Frierson, Burton (28 October 2009). "Global pollution-fighters find scant success". Reuters. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
- "Top 10 Most Polluted Places 2007". Worst Polluted. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
- "12 Cases of Cleanup and Success 2009". Worst Polluted. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
- "NGO Directory". China Development Brief. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
- Espina, Nonoy (17 September 2007). "Meycauayan, Marilao in world’s ‘Dirty 30’-- report". Inquirer. Retrieved 21 November 2013.