NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Actor/Activist Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire, The Newsroom, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) has launched Pure Earth (www.pureearth.org), a new campaign with nonprofit partner Blacksmith Institute aimed at raising awareness of the threat toxic pollution poses to poor children living in some of the world's worst polluted places. Patel unveiled the new effort at the Pure Earth inaugural benefit gala held at Gotham Hall in NYC on April 26, 2014. Pure Earth will expand on the work done by Blacksmith, which has been conducting environmental cleanups in poverty-stricken, toxic hot spots around the globe for the past 15 years.
The Pure Earth benefit gala honored Dev Patel and Sheldon Kasowitz, Managing Partner at Indus Capital Partners, and featured artworks for auction by Yoko Ono, Anne Hathaway, Susan Sarandon, Olivia Munn and the cast of Newsroom, Faith Ringgold and others.
According to Patel, filming in India as a teenager was an "eye-opening experience." The actor, who just celebrated his birthday on April 23, called Pure Earth “the single greatest present.”
Patel added: "Even I wasn’t aware of how big the problem was until a couple of years ago when I went on a research trip for a film project to Bhopal India. I witnessed first-hand the appalling conditions the poor families had to face every day who live near the Union Carbide factory, which is now an abandoned toxic hot spot. I was deeply moved by the struggles of these people and began to understand how industrial pollution in the soil and water can lead to birth defects, widespread disease, high cancer rates, and low life expectancy. When Richard Fuller approached me to get involved with Blacksmith and their worldwide clean up, I jumped at the opportunity."
“We are honored to be working with Dev Patel on this mission to improve the environment and human health in the poorest parts of the globe. Dev’s passion and commitment to the cause will help us raise awareness about this underreported global problem that affects over 200 million people, and can be especially deadly for children,” said Richard Fuller, President of Pure Earth/Blacksmith Institute.
The recent report "The Poisoned Poor," released by the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution (GAHP) (Blacksmith serves as Secretariat for the GAHP) highlights the urgency of the issue. The report draws on a study of more than 3,000 toxic sites, funded by the World Bank, European Commission and Asian Development Bank, that shows that as many as 200 million people may be affected. A detailed analysis of 373 contaminated sites in India, Indonesia and the Philippines calculated that the amount of disease caused by toxic exposures was similar to that of malaria or outdoor air pollution in those three countries. (See one-page summary)
Interviews/more photos on request