Blacksmith Toxic Waste Site Assessment

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Children in an Armenian village playing on toxic mining waste deposited near their schoolyard.

AUA ACE, in partnership with the AUA School of Public Health and two Republic of Armenia ministries, contributed to the Blacksmith Institute’s Global Inventory Project for Toxic Waste Sites in Armenia. The Blacksmith Institute, an international not-for-profit organization, is developing a global inventory of toxic hotspots that pose a risk to human health in low- and middle-income countries. The project evaluated 25 sites across five marzes in Armenia impacted by mining and other industrial activity. Water and soil samples were collected to analyze for heavy metals and other toxic chemicals. In addition, more than 124 community members, local authorities, and NGO representatives participated in interviews. The findings of this study show that many of these communities have unacceptably high levels of toxic pollutants and that the residents are not informed about the risks and ways to minimize exposure. While no funding exists yet, AUA ACE plans to address this lack of knowledge in communities over the summer through preparing educational materials and engaging partners with extensive networks in affected communities.