GENEVA, Switzerland, May 8, 2013 – The Global Environment Facility today premiered a documentary film, Mission: Planet De-Tox, now available free around the world, focusing on GEF-funded projects that address toxic chemical pollution on three continents.
GEF CEO and Chairperson Naoko Ishii introduced the film to an audience of several hundred delegates, observers, and guests at a special event at the Joint Conference of Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions meeting in Geneva.
“Chemicals cut across the entire earth’s ecosystem,” said Ms. Ishii. “We want the world to know that there is a way to handle this challenge.”
Directed by Patrick Fries of Arrowhead Films, Mission: Planet De-Tox takes viewers to toxic chemical project sites in Asia, Africa and Latin America that are operating with the help of GEF funding and the implementation efforts of GEF partner agencies – the World Bank, the United Nations Environment Programme, and the United Nations Development Programme. GEF Chemicals Team staffers Anil Sookdeo and Evelyn Swain travel to places where local initiative aided by international funding is making a difference. They visit:
- General Santos City, the Philippines, where a huge, smoldering landfill emits toxic fumes. The unlined landfill, picked over by families risking their health to find valuables in the heaps of trash, is one of six in the country soon to be closed and rebuilt using environmentally sound methods.
- Mexico City, where electrical equipment that threatens to contaminate water supplies with toxic PCBs is being taken off line, properly disposed, and replaced with modern equipment. Some 2,500 tons of PCB-laced chemicals and equipment – 10 percent of the country’s inventory – is being replaced under a GEF-funded program.
- Morogoro, Tanzania, where a GEF-supported project is properly disposing of obsolete pesticides, including DDT, and to multiple locations elsewhere in Tanzania where GEF support is enabling the safe disposal of toxic medical waste.
- Changzhou China, site of a pesticide factory, now demolished, that was rendered obsolete by GEF-funded efforts to develop safe and effective ways of getting rid of termites without the use of toxic chemicals that can linger in the air and water for years.
- Nairobi and Mount Kenya, in Kenya, where new techniques are being used to control malaria-carrying mosquitoes, and where an air sampling station and a breast milk testing program, operating with GEF support, document the health threats posed by persistent organic pollutants. Data collected in Kenya feeds into the GEF/UNEP Global Monitoring Plan, which gathers data from all over the world to track hazardous chemicals.
“The film calls for action – very, very urgent action – and we need to work together to spread this message,” Ms. Ishii told the gathering.
The film is available on the GEF YouTube channel, http://www.youtube.com/GEFSecretariat. Groups and educational institutions interested in showing the film are encouraged to contact the GEF.
In Geneva, Switzerland
Mr. John Diamond
Senior Communication Officer | Spokesperson
Phone +1 202 458 7953
In Washington, DC
Mr. Christian Hofer
Senior Communication Officer
Phone: +1 202 458 0936
About the Global Environment Facility
The Global Environment Facility (GEF) unites 183 countries in partnership with international institutions, civil society organizations (CSOs), and the private sector to address global environmental issues while supporting national sustainable development initiatives. Today the GEF is the largest public funder of projects to improve the global environment. An independently operating financial organization, the GEF provides grants for projects related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer, and persistent organic pollutants.
Since 1991, GEF has achieved a strong track record with developing countries and countries with economies in transition, providing $11.5 billion in grants and leveraging $57 billion in co-financing for over 3,215 projects in over 165 countries. Through its Small Grants Programme (SGP), the GEF has also made more than 16,030 small grants directly to civil society and community based organizations, totaling $653.2 million. For more information, visit www.thegef.org.