Green Cities

Obama visits Flint, Michigan to meet with families affected by contaminated drinking water

On May 4th, President Barack Obama visited Flint, Michigan, to meet with families affected by the lead contamination of the city’s drinking water.  The crisis began in 2014 when Flint officials decided to change the city’s water source to the Flint River. Due to failures to treat the water correctly, lead from Flint’s aging pipes seeped into the drinking water.  As a result of this public health failure, thousands of Flint residents may be affected by lead poisoning, which can cause kidney damage and a permanent impact on attention and IQ. During President Obama’s visit, he gave a speech about the water crisis, its impact, and the road to recovery for Flint.  He promised a quick recovery for the city, and that there would be improvements made to “fix the culture of neglect” present in Flint and in cities around the country. He also drank a glass of Flint’s water during the speech, which is now safe to drink as long as it is properly filtered. Dr. Amy Pruden, Principal Investigator for the Flint Water Study and professor at Virginia Tech, has worked closely with the Environmental Protection Agency and the government of Flint to both help uncover the water contamination in Flint and move towards a solution.  Dr. Pruden will be speaking at Earth Day Network’s annual Climate Leadership Gala on May 10th about her work to improve the quality of life in Flint.