It was 2014 when the Flint water crisis started. It was caused by changing the source of drinking water from Lake Huron and the Detroit River to the much cheaper Flint River.
After that, because of insufficient water treatment, lead leached from the pipes into the drinking water, exposing 100,000 residents. It caused 12 deaths and 6,000-12,000 children exposed to lead.
The crisis is not solved completely even today. The source of water was changed to the Detroit River again back in 2016, and the water quality returned to the acceptable level in early 2017. However, the residents were instructed to continue using bottled water until all of the lead pipes are replaced. The estimated date of complete replacement is 2020.
On Wednesday, residents found a new hero for themselves. His name is Elon Musk. The same one who sent a team of engineers to try rescuing the 12 Thai boys from the cave.
Musk tweeted, “Please consider this a commitment that I will fund fixing the water in any house in Flint that has water contamination above FDA levels. No kidding.”
After that, he created an e-mail address where the residents could send requests for a water filter. The Mayor of Flint accepted the offer and asked for a conversation to discuss specific needs.
Additionally, Musk mentioned that most of the houses have safe water and for those that do not, he will organize something to add filters. As an example, he mentioned a barnstorming weekend for water filter installation.
However, his effort was criticized by a lot of people. The problem with his solution is that those filters are available for free for a while. But residents are not satisfied because of two reasons. First of all, they do not trust the tap water, and they will hardly believe the fact that it is safe in the future. The second is connected to the filters. Some of them do not know how to install them or how to maintain them.
Therefore, the only permanent solution for this crisis is to change all of the pipes. Musk’s solution can only be effective if he teaches people how to use these filters.