Jen Marraccino is the Senior Director of Development at Pure Earth, an international non-profit organization dedicated to solving pollution problems in low- and middle-income countries, where human health is at risk.
Pure Earth is a leader in global toxic pollution cleanup. Since its inception in 1999, Pure Earth has completed 110 environmental remediation projects in 27 countries, improving the lives of millions of people, especially children, who are most at risk from the threat of toxic pollution.
One of the major pollution issues addressed by Pure Earth is mercury pollution from artisanal small-scale gold mining. They have developed a global mercury program that aims to reduce public and occupational health risks from mercury exposure among gold miners, their families and the global population. The program achieves this goal by reducing the unsafe work practice of using mercury in artisanal and small-scale gold mining communities, and by developing cost-effective methods of remediating land and waterways contaminated with mercury. These activities provide miners with the tools and incentives to convert to mercury-free mining processes, and provide government service providers and regulators the tools to encourage safe mining practices and identify potential health threats.
In Peru, working closely with our partner CINICIA (Amazon Center of Scientific Innovation), Pure Earth recently competed the first rainforest restoration of land degraded by artisanal gold mining. Over 5,000 saplings were planted and maintained on 2.5 hectares of land in Madre de Dios. While this is only a fraction of land degraded by gold mining, this is intended to function as a model and training center to help future stakeholders responsibly close mines without leaving behind a legacy of social and environmental degradation.