Smarter In 60 Sec­onds

World of Knowledge (Australia) - - Contents -

Theme: Wa­ter

In 2014, res­i­dents of Flint, Michi­gan, be­gan to com­plain about the taste, smell and colour of the wa­ter flow­ing from their taps. Tests re­vealed that the city’s drink­ing wa­ter was highly cor­ro­sive as well as be­ing con­tam­i­nated with dan­ger­ously high lev­els of lead. The heavy me­tal has been linked to brain dam­age, mis­car­riages and men­tal health is­sues. Flint’s cri­sis de­vel­oped when city au­thor­i­ties switched the mu­nic­i­pal wa­ter sup­ply source from fresh­wa­ter Lake Huron to the Flint River, a no­to­ri­ously dirty wa­ter­way used for decades as a dump­ing ground for in­dus­trial waste. Their ra­tio­nale? Sav­ing money. Al­though this wa­ter was sani­tised be­fore be­ing pumped into homes, it re­acted with the lead in the city’s an­ti­quated me­tal pipes and leached into the pub­lic wa­ter sup­ply. State health of­fi­cials now say that ev­ery child un­der the age of six in Flint should be con­sid­ered lead- ex­posed. What’s more: there’s no time frame for re­plac­ing the city’s pipes. Res­i­dents are forced to rely on bot­tled wa­ter handed out by of­fi­cials for bathing, drink­ing and cook­ing.

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