In This Issue:
Did you know that pollution can lower life expectancy to as little as 45 years? Did you know that most toxic pollution is NOT caused by large multinational companies?
What is your pollution IQ? The Pollution Blog lists ten things you might not know about this global killer.
New Pollution Report Due in November
A new report due in early November will be the first to quantify the health impacts from the top ten sources of toxic pollution, directly linking the causes of contamination and their effects on the population's health.
The 2011 report is the latest in a series released by Blacksmith Institute in partnership with Green Cross Switzerland. Previous reports have revealed The Top Six Toxic Threats, 12 Cases of Cleanup and Success, The World's Worst Pollution Problems, and Top Ten Most Polluted Places. All published reports are available online at www.worstpolluted.org.
In 2010, John Keith was scheduled to go to Ethiopia with Engineers Without Borders (EWB) when the project fell through. So he answered a call for help on another project in Africa--Blacksmith's emergency cleanup of toxic lead in Zamfara, Nigeria. The time he spent there proved significant not only for the Zamfara cleanup, but because today, Keith is still with Blacksmith. He now directs operations for Blacksmith's global projects. Keith will speak about his experiences in Nigeria on Nov. 18, at EWB's North East region workshop in NYC.
"I had not heard of Blacksmith until I answered the call for volunteers for Nigeria. But now, I am part of the Blacksmith team, traveling the world to organize toxic contamination site cleanup."
At last count, John has been to 72 countries in a career extending over 35 years in environmental engineering. This included a stint as Pfizer's vice president for environment, health and safety, where he led the multinational's programs for over 100 manufacturing plants and logistic centers in 30 countries.
Among Keith's most memorable experiences was the seven weeks he spent on behalf of UNICEF in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, in 2005 following the tsunami. Working at the epicenter of the devastation, Keith was charged with rebuilding sanitation facilities for the community.
"It was the hardest work I had ever done. It was just myself, one local Indonesian engineer and several other personnel from the city government working to design a wastewater treatment plant, landfill and public works yard, as well as buying the heavy equipment and trucks needed to restore sanitation services. All this while surrounded by evidence of over 200,000 deaths."
In Nigeria, Keith spent three months on-site overseeing the remediation of seven villages contaminated with toxic lead, working alongside five other EWB volunteers and the rest of the team from Blacksmith and TerraGraphics. Since then, Keith has worked on Blacksmith projects around the world, from El Salvador to the Ukraine. And he is not the only engineer without borders making a difference.
"That's what all the engineers at EWB do. They volunteer their technical and project management skills to help Blacksmith and other nonprofits do the work that needs to get done--work like developing clean water supply systems, building bridges, and for us, helping with remediation projects." notes Keith.
"Collaborations like these are crucial in order to keep projects going within tight budgets. We all understand that. We all thrive on that."
Watch a slideshow of Blacksmith's work in Nigeria.
The threatening sky held back its downpour for a good cause last month, allowing over 100 golfers to tee off at Blacksmith's annual golf benefit in Sleepy Hollow, New York.
A silent auction and a raffle raised the stakes at the charity tournament, adding thousands of dollars to the final amount raised for toxic pollution cleanup.
In between the friendly bouts and bidding, the golfers found time to learn more about what's happening in some of the world's worst polluted paces.
"We plan the benefit to combine fun with a little education and a lot of serious fundraising. And every year, we see the crowd growing as the word spreads," says Blacksmith's founder Richard Fuller, whose group ended the day with a 71 score.
Thank you to everyone who spent the day on the green with us, and a special thank you to Vornado Realty Trust for sponsoring the lunch, JDP Mechanical and Ambassador Construction for sponsoring the putting green, and Structure Tone and EMCOR for sponsoring the driving range.
Here are some photographs from the tournament and a final tally of the competition.
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