Blacksmith Press Release

Blacksmith Institute and Green Cross Switzerland Address Aftermath of Sichuan Earthquake

New York, NY August 13, 2008, - Blacksmith Institute and Green Cross Switzerland have begun a joint project to identify and assess pollution resulting from the recent earthquake in western China. The project will build an inventory of chemical leakages in Wenchuan County, the epicenter of the quake and home to high number of Chinese chemical manufacturers and mining complexes.

The earthquake occurred on May 12, 2008 and had an 8.0 rating on the Richter scale. Nearly 70 thousand people were killed and nearly 5 million displaced.

Wenchuan County is a mountainous area 80 kilometers northwest of Chengdu.  Many chemical manufacturing plants and mining complexes were severely damaged during the quake. Initial research indicates that leaching of mine tailings and chemicals into area soil and water potentially pose a serious threat to human health. A pressing need exists to assess the scale of the contamination and begin remediation.

Green Cross Switzerland and Blacksmith institute have begun an initial field study. In the first stage of the project, a database will be created to record the release of chemical pollutants from the factories and mines that were destroyed or damaged in the earthquake zone. Based on this information, Green Cross Switzerland and Blacksmith will be able to identify and assess pollution risks.

About Blacksmith Institute and Green Cross Switzerland

Blacksmith Institute designs and implements solutions for pollution related problems in the developing world.  Since 1999, Blacksmith has been addressing the critical need to clean up dangerous and largely unknown polluted sites where human health is most affected by pollution.  Blacksmith has completed over 50 projects and is currently engaged in over 30 projects in 14 countries.

Green Cross Switzerland facilitates overcoming consequential damages caused by industrial and military disasters and the clean-up of contaminated sites from the period of the Cold War. Central issues are the improvement of the living quality of people affected by chemical, radioactive and other types of contamination, as well as the promotion of a sustainable development in the spirit of co-operation instead of confrontation. This includes the involvement of all stakeholder groups affected by a problem.