Soccer Field Transformed From Toxic Lead Dump To Safe Play Space

Playing soccer barefoot is dangerous for these kids.  The field is contaminated with toxic lead.

Now cleaned up, this soccer field used to be highly contaminated with toxic lead. Children were being poisoned everyday.

In Cinangka, Indonesia, a playground near the primary school was so toxic that parts of the field had lead levels that measured 123 times above the World Health Organization (WHO) standard.

Hundreds of children were getting posioned everyday, running around barefoot on the playground.

Something needed to be done fast.

So Pure Earth/Blacksmith experts decided to “bury” the problem using a process called encapsulation.

We encased over 2,500 cubic meters of highly contaminated soil in a double-lined geo-membrane, covered it with clay and a think layer of limestone rock. Even though the contaminated soil remains at the site, it no longer poses a health risk. All this was done for under $10 a resident.

By demonstrating to the local government that cleanup can be quick and low-cost, we have opened the way for more work at other contaminated sites across the country.

Now the children of Cinangka have their wish – a soccer field that will not kill.

Read the full Cinangka Project Completion Report (pdf)

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