Knowledge Database Helps Policy Makers Identify and Assess Toxic Waste Hot Spots

Publication | July 2014

This issue discusses how a regional inventory of polluted sites can lead to better information and higher awareness among policy makers and development partners about the scope of, and possible solutions to toxic waste problems.

Highlights

  • Industrial toxic wastes from artisanal and legacy industrial sites, e.g., those from informal businesses or closed factories, pose serious health risks but are often not prioritized by governments because it is difficult to hold the polluters accountable for the cleanup. An NGO, Blacksmith Institute, proposed to assess the magnitude of the problem in countries across Asia and the Pacific, and to work with communities and governments to plan and implement mitigation efforts.
  • A first step was to identify and assess these artisanal and legacy pollution sites. From this work, a toxic sites database was developed and sites were categorized and prioritized by level of impact and cost-effectiveness of mitigation measures.
  • The regional inventory of polluted sites led to better information and higher awareness among policy makers and development partners about the scope of, and possible solutions to the problem. Communities and governments throughout the region are benefiting from this knowledge as an advocacy tool and as a roadmap for cleanup actions.