Snapshots of Progress in 2013 – EASTERN EUROPE/CENTRAL ASIA

  • Stopping A Ticking Time Bomb In The Ukraine
  • Keeping Radiation Out of Schools In Kyrgyzstan
  • Groundbreaking Work In Armenia

Blacksmith identified and assessed 128 contaminated sites in the region, bringing the total number of polluted communities documented in Eastern Europe and Central Asia to 462.

The main sources of pollution in this region are mining and chemical production. Some are remnants a bygone era. Some sites, like the abandoned Gorlovka chemical plant in the Ukraine, are like ticking time bombs,” says Andrew McCartor, Blacksmith’s program director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Stopping a Countdown to Disaster in the Ukraine:
In 2013, Blacksmith continued work at Gorlovka. Nearly all the explosive TNT stored in the dilapidated plant has been removed and secured in a guarded facility, while the 15,000 tons of highly toxic mono nitrochlorobenzene (MNCB) stored near the explosives have been removed and disposed of by the government. See PHOTOS and VIDEO Slideshow.

Keeping Radiation Out of Schools In Kyrgyzstan:
In Mailuu-Suu, Kyrgyzstan, where uranium was mined for the atomic bomb, Blacksmith installed additional water filters in seven schools to protect children from exposure to dangerous levels of radionuclides every time they turn on the tap.  This year we also trained 284 teachers, doctors and nurses, and municipal officials on methods to reduce risk. VIDEO: See schools in Mailuu-Suu and children’s dioramas

A First In Armenia:
Another highlight is our work in Armenia, where we developed the first and only comprehensive assessment of polluted places in the country, and set up a system for them to be able to start working on a solution.

Not many people understand the impact of pollution in Armenia partly because they have not had ways to measure the threat.  So we brought over two piece of equipment to Armenia.  One that measures lead levels in blood, and the other to analyze heavy metals in soil. Now they are able to do a level of analysis and research that is really groundbreaking for the country.”

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