Blacksmith Institute is an international non-profit organization dedicated to solving pollution problems in low and middle income countries, where human health is at risk. Since its inception in 1999, Blacksmith has completed more than 50 cleanup projects in 21 countries.
Hazards of Pollution
Industrial wastes, air emissions, and legacy pollution affect the health of more than 100 million people worldwide. Women and children are especially at risk. Tens of thousands of people are poisoned and killed each year. Others have reduced neurological development, damaged immune systems, and long-term health problems. The number of people affected is comparable to HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria. Yet pollution is one of the most underreported and underfunded problems in the world.
Focus on Highly Polluted Places
The priority of Blacksmith is to work in locations throughout the developing world where human health is most affected by pollution. Our programs involve a multi-step process of:
- Identifying polluted places in the developing world, with nominations received from members of the international community and through the internet;
- Assessing the health risks at those locations by:
- Reviewing nominations with a Technical Advisory Board of leading international specialists on a rolling monthly basis.
- Visiting candidate sites with likely high health risk implication, and conducting an Initial Site Sceening, a triage protocol that validates likely health implications, and enables the design of an intervention.
- Designing and implementing a remediation strategy tailored to the specifics of the site in question, using local champions to implement the project in a cooperative fashion.
We believe that problems are only solved when there is someone locally to guide the work and champion the solution. That person might be a passionate government official, the leader of a community-based organization, a local council member, or a local resident.
Blacksmith supports its local partners with more than just grants. We provide assistance in other ways so that our partners can initiate solutions to their pollution problems in the most cost effective and direct manner. Blacksmith provides:
- Technical Research: We bring the necessary resources to research a pollution problem and its proposed solutions thoroughly. We partner with scientific and technical groups in the US (and also in Europe) that have demonstrated expertise in areas relevant to pollution remediation.
- Strategic Assistance: We provide help with project planning and implementation planning, using our experience in similar projects to enable local champions to describe a credible methodology for site remediation, and move forward with it.
- Networking Capabilities: We develop collaborative networking opportunities for our partners, linking them to the most appropriate resources to meet their needs, including organizations such as the World Bank.
- Financial Support: Through the generosity of our personal and institutional funders, we provide both seed money and continuing support to projects, offering long-term core support, whenever possible, to projects that have demonstrated clear successes (or the potential for success) in the pollution remediation field.