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Why This Matters: Mona Hanna-Attisha, the Flint pediatrician who first documented the extremely high levels of lead in the city’s water, says that justice is crucial to the healing process. “I have increasingly come to understand that accountability and justice are critical to health and recovery,” Hanna-Attisha told the Washington Post,“without justice, it’s impossible to heal the scars of the crisis.” She hopes that bringing accountability to the highest powers involved in the crisis will help bring the public some peace, a resource that had eluded the people of Flint even six years later.
When the city switched to a new water source, the government ignored residents’ repeated complaints about health issues caused by city tap water. Michigan Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich recalls, “residents of Flint were repeatedly told they were crazy. They were belittled. They were harmed by the water physically, emotionally.”
Just last year, residents lined up in their cars to receive free bottled water for “World Water Day” simply because itcame from outside of their own hometown. Ananich sympathizes, “I can’t tell somebody they should trust [claims that the water is safe], because I don’t trust them—and I have more information than most people.”
Injustice Runs Deep: Flint’s predominantly white government has had longstanding tension with its predominantly Black populace. The population of Flint is 54% Black, compared to just 14% statewide. The dynamic only added to the pain faced by the residents of Flint, who felt that white politicians had left Black residents behind for the sake of saving money and ignored their pleas for help out of apathy for the local community. Nationwide, Black children are at a higher risk for lead poisoning, even in infancy.
In addition to Snyder, his health department director Nick Lyon and former adviser Rich Baird will also be charged. The exact details of the charges on the three men have not been made public, but already their lawyers have denounced the Michigan Attorney General’s decision. Lyon’s attorney claimed the move would be an “absolute travesty of justice” and Snyder’s representation called it a “smear campaign.”
Nevertheless, many see it as a light at the end of the tunnel. Gina Luster, a community activist, expressed disbelief, “finally, after 7 years of fighting for justice.” Ananich affirmed her relief, “I’ve always said that I think criminal charges are important, because I think it’s criminal what happened to my town.” He believes the indictment will show the people of Flint that “no person, no politician, no one is above the law.”
As California’s drought conditions are worsening, Nestle is pumping millions of gallons of water from the San Bernardino forest. State water officials have drafted a cease-and-desist order to force the company to stop overpumping from Strawberry Creek, which provides drinking water for about 750,000 people.
The ice-out date for Maine’s Lake Auburn is now three weeks earlier than it was two centuries ago, the Portland Press Herald reports, and other lakes across New England show similar trends. Climate change is not good for ice, and that includes Maine’s lakes that freeze over every winter.
Why This Matters: A disrupted winter with lakes that “defrost” earlier has multiple knock-on effects for freshwater: in addition to harming fish in lakes, the resulting large cyanobacteria algae blooms that form can be harmful to human health.
by Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Drought conditions cover 85% of Mexico as lakes and reservoirs dry up across the country. Mexico City is experiencing its worst drought in 30 years, and the reservoirs and aquifers are so depleted that some residents don’t have tap water. The capital city relies on water pumped in from […]
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