The national outrage caused by Flint, Michigan's lead-contaminated water has seen many strong condemnations from politicians and activists across the country. Over the weekend, tired of waiting for the authorities to take action, 300 union plumbers installed faucets and water filters for Flint residents for free in a marvelous gesture of kindness.
Organized by the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry — more commonly known as the United Association (UA) — hundreds of plumbers flocked to the beleaguered city to help install plumbing supplies donated by Plumbing Manufacturers International (PMI) in the homes of Flint residents.
Though the state government is providing Flint residents with free water filters while it scrambles to find a comprehensive solution, many of them have faucets so old that they are unable to accommodate the filters. (However, in some homes, the levels of lead exceed what water filters are able to properly filter out.)
"PMI is proud to join with its members and the UA to put our vision of safe, responsible plumbing into action," Barbara Higgens, the head of the union, said in a statement.
In a time of anger and fear in the Michigan city, the nation is stepping up to help Flint residents. Muslim groups are leading the charge in donating water to Flint, and celebrities are using their exposure to raise awareness and funds to help residents.
Flint's water crisis began in 2014 when it switched its water source from Detroit's water system to the Flint River. Officials reportedly failed to properly treat the Flint River water, causing a chain of events that led to the corrosion of lead in Flint's water pipes.
Many people fell ill from being exposed to lead — which is dangerous in any capacity, let alone the staggering amounts in Flint's water — including an estimated 6,000 to 12,000 children. Young children are particularly susceptible to lead poisoning, and are at risk of irreversible physical and intellectual damage as a result.