In this Issue:
On Christmas day, 6.8 million Android and iOS devices were activated. This means that millions of old phones were probably discarded along with large numbers of TVs, computers and other gadgets to make way for newer models. Because of unregulated dumping, much of this toxic e-waste ends up in places like Ghana's notorious Agbogbloshie market, which locals call Sodom and Gomorrah.
Blacksmith's first pollution talk of the year will look at what life is like in Ghana's Sodom and Gomorrah, and offer a peek at what will be done when Blacksmith heads back to the e-wasteland this spring.
Sodom Gomorrah E-Wasteland, Jan 19, 6 p.m., NYC. FREE. RSVP required.
"Legacy polluted sites can be found in every low-income country but the widespread problem is usually ignored party because the source of the pollution is gone," says Blacksmith President Richard Fuller. "Finding and stopping pollution is the first line of action for many governments and organizations. With that gone, the problem of lingering contamination simply falls through the cracks."
Blacksmith is expanding its presence in China with the formation of a new Technical Advisory Board (TAB) composed chiefly of Chinese experts in pollution and environmental engineering.
The China TAB will support Blacksmith's work on China's master plan for pollution prevention and remediation, which is expected to put in place a heavy metals pollution control system by 2015.
"This group of local advisers gives us a greater pool of experts to call on in-country as we work on this massive national five-year cleanup plan," says John Keith, Blacksmith's director of operations. "They will be able to help us navigate the local system, get things done faster, and deepen our ties for this and future projects."
The China TAB will meet in Beijing next month to discuss remediation work at the Guixi smelter, the largest copper factory in China; and at the closed chromate factory in Changsha.
The China TAB is the first international offshoot of Blacksmith's highly regarded US-based TAB. Plans are underway to form other branches to support Blacksmith's global work.
"Sensationalist" Claim in 2011 Report
A leather industry group criticized Blacksmith's listing of tannery operations at #5 in the 2011 report on the world's worst toxic pollution problems, calling the report's conclusions "sensationalist."
The 2011 report was also notable because it debunked a popularly held belief about multinational corporations and pollution.
The report also spotlighted the high price of gold, literally and figuratively. Driven by the global rise in the price of the precious metal, artisanal gold mining landed at the #1 on the list.
Published since 2006, Blacksmith's annual pollution reports have raised awareness about the global scope of toxic pollution, and in some cases, have compelled cleanup work at polluted hotspots.
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