Pure Earth

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Blacksmith Institute for a Pure Earth
Pure Earth logo.png
Formation 1999
Type International NGO
Richard Fuller
Website www.pureearth.org

Founded in 1999, the Blacksmith Institute which changed its name to Pure Earth on March 10, 2015, is an international not-for-profit organization that identifies and cleans up pollution, focusing primarily on contaminated sites and soil in developing countries. Over the last decade it has cleaned up 84 sites in 20 countries,[1] focusing on communities where children are most at risk. These communities suffer disproportionately from pollution-related diseases.

In 2014, Blacksmith launched a new initiative – Blacksmith Institute for a Pure Earth – with actor Dev Patel as celebrity ambassador.[2] 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.[3] 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 received a Green Star Award for its work.[4] In 2010, Blacksmith founder Richard Fuller was profiled in Time magazine's "Power of One" column[5] 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.[1]

2015 saw the release of the book The Brown Agenda.

Pure Earth has been recognized as one of the USA’s top performing nonprofits.[6]

Blacksmith Institute/Pure Earth is known for its annual World's Worst Polluted Places Reports, The Pollution Blog, and the Blacksmith database, which currently lists 600 polluted sites. This Polluted Places Initiative identifies polluted sites throughout the world by means of an online nomination process.[7]

Blacksmith is currently expanding their database with the Toxics Sites Identification Program, formerly known as Global Inventory Project.[8]

Blacksmith/Pure Earth serves as Secretariat for the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution (GAHP).[9] In 2015, the GAHP launched the global Commission on Pollution, Health and Development. It is described as an "initiative of The Lancet, the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution (GAHP), and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, with additional coordination and input from the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Bank."[10] The Commission aims to quantify the health and economic costs of pollution to give global leaders and policy-makers the justification to act on pollution. The Commission report will be published in early 2017.

The GAHP (Global Alliance on Health and Pollution)[edit]

In July 2012, Blacksmith convened a third meeting of world leaders[11] and experts on pollution at the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Center in Italy. 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.[12][13][14]

World's Worst Polluted Places Reports[edit]

2015 report: Top Six Toxic Threats[edit]

  • Lead
  • Radionuclides
  • Mercury
  • Chromium
  • Pesticides
  • Cadmium


2014 report: Top Ten Countries Turning The Corner on Toxic Pollution[edit]

(Not ranked, listed by region.)

  • Ghana, Agbogbloshie
  • Senegal, Thiaroye Sur Mer
  • Peru
  • Uruguay, Montevideo
  • Mexico, Mexico City
  • Indonesia, Cinangka
  • Philippines, Marilao, Meycauayan and Obando River System
  • Vietnam, Dong Mai
  • Former Soviet Union
  • Kyrgyzstan, Mailuu-Suu
  • Also China, India and Madagascar[16]

2013 report: Top Ten Toxic Threats in 2013: Cleanup, Progress, and Ongoing Challenges[edit]

The World's Worst Polluted Places in 2013 (unranked):

(*included in the original 2006 or 2007 lists)

2012 report: The Top Ten Sources by Global Burden of Disease[edit]

  • Battery Recycling
  • Lead Smelting
  • Mining and Ore Processing
  • Tanneries
  • Industrial/Municipal Dumpsites
  • Industrial Estates
  • Artisanal Gold Mining
  • Product Manufacturing
  • Chemical Manufacturing
  • Dye Industry

2011 report: The Top Ten of the Toxic Twenty[edit]

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[edit]

The report identifies and quantifies the impacts of the most damaging toxic pollutants. The Top Six Toxic Threats are:[17]

  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Chromium
  • Arsenic
  • Pesticides
  • Radionuclides

2009 report: 12 Cases of Cleanup and Success[edit]

The report lists 10 programs, unranked, as examples of successful efforts to reduce the toll of pollution on human health. It also includes two initiatives with worldwide impact.[18][19][20][21]

2008 report: Top Ten World's Worst Pollution Problems[edit]

  • 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[edit]

As of September 2007, the Institute lists the following as the world's ten most polluted places (in alphabetical order by country):[22]

Also mentioned[edit]

The Institute has operated in China since 2002.[24]

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.[22] 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."[25]


  1. ^ a b http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-09-15/the-chemical-weapons-ukrainian-separatists-didnt-get
  2. ^ http://www.indiawest.com/entertainment/global/dev-patel-launches-pure-earth-nontoxic-campaign/article_21aeab8b-508c-502c-ac97-fbcb3ab0de64.html
  3. ^ http://www.blacksmithinstitute.org/blog/qa-with-slumdog-millionaire-dev-patel-on-his-belated-birthday-present-a-pure-earth/
  4. ^ "Six UN-backed green awards handed out for work in disasters". UN News Centre. 18 May 2011. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  5. ^ Walsh, Bryan (18 October 2010). "Power of One". TIME Magazine. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  6. ^ http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=11750#.VCG3by5dUTE
  7. ^ Harvey, Fiona (2007-09-12). "Planet's most polluted sites unveiled". The Financial Times. 
  8. ^ "Blacksmith Institute Leads International Partnership To Build World's First Global Inventory Of Polluted Sites". Blacksmith Institute. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  9. ^ "A Global Alliance for a Toxics-Free World". 
  10. ^ "commission". commission. Retrieved 2016-08-15. 
  11. ^ "Incubating Ideas for Change at the Bellagio Center". Pollution Blog. Blacksmith Institute. 18 April 2012. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  12. ^ "Health and Pollution Fund". Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  13. ^ "Global Alliance on Health and Pollution". Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  14. ^ Dolan, David (5 May 2009). "Toxic hotspots affect 600 million in developing world". Reuters. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  15. ^ 2015 full report
  16. ^ 2014full report
  17. ^ "Worst Polluted". Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  18. ^ a b c d e Rudolf, John Collins (29 October 2009). "Report Notes Few Toxic Cleanup Successes". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Leahy, Stephen (29 October 2009). "A Dozen Countries Take on Toxic Pollution". North America Inter Press Service. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  20. ^ Biello, David (29 October 2009). "Can the World's Most Polluted Places Ever Be Cleaned?". Scientific American. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  21. ^ Frierson, Burton (28 October 2009). "Global pollution-fighters find scant success". Reuters. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  22. ^ a b "Top 10 Most Polluted Places 2007". Worst Polluted. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  23. ^ "12 Cases of Cleanup and Success 2009". Worst Polluted. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  24. ^ "NGO Directory". China Development Brief. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  25. ^ Espina, Nonoy (17 September 2007). "Meycauayan, Marilao in world's 'Dirty 30'-- report". Inquirer. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 

External links[edit]