The Flint activist, who founded a civic movement that helped uncover the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, is hailed as an environmental savior and is one of the recipients of the prestigious Goldman Award. Environmental Award 2018. The award recognizes grassroots environmental activists from around the world.
When the city of Flint changed its water supply to cut the budget it spent in April 2014, nearly 100,000 people remained without safe tap water after lead had run out. LeeAnne Walters is a mother of four. The water in Mrs. Walter's house turned brownish and she noticed a rash in her 3 year old twins. Later, she and her children developed other health problems, such as hair loss, which led them to suspect that the brown color of the water was a cause.
She then asked officials to complain about the bottles of discolored water. In February 2015, the city sent someone to check their complaints. Tests showed that the lead content was 104 parts per billion, which is seven times the permissible limit. Flint's unprecedented levels were so high that a city must alert all its residents as soon as possible under federal law.
In addition, the state authorities continued to tell the residents that the drinking water was safe, even as one of Walter's children was diagnosed with lead poisoning. And all children tested positive for lead exposure. They even said that Mrs. Walter was lying and stupid.
Walters spent months learning about water chemistry and reading technical documents about the Flint water system. Afterwards she worked with the environmental engineer dr. Marc Edwards of the Virginia Tech, who helped her to conduct extensive water tests in various homes throughout the city.
She went on to methodically take every zip code in Flint and create a transparent system and a strong system to ensure the fairness of the tests, which worked over three weeks over 100 hours a week.
Overall, Walters, her neighbors, and the Virginia Tech team tested more than 800 independent water samples of homes in their Flint city
Walters and Edwards together proved that "every sixth house has a water level that meets the regulatory legal threshold exceeds, "explained the price administrators. Walters hinted that the contamination was due to the city, which switched its water supply to the city, which had not properly treated the water to prevent corrosion of the pipes, causing lead to get into the water.
Finally, Flint returned his previous water source from Detroit. The state of emergency was declared by the Obama administration and the state. Until then, Walters has not stopped working on water quality issues in Flint and several other US cities.
Her twins, now seven years old, still have to deal with the consequences of drinking unfit water. Walters tells us that her children still have health concerns about lead poisoning, such as problems with hand-eye coordination and speech impediment. She said that her own eyelashes would eventually grow back, but now they are shorter than ever, and the fine hair on the crown of her head is still "super thin."
So that some jurors praised Ms. Walter's "inquisitive, logical mind and stubbornness" they further added, "Their powerful moral compass is communal spirit and equally critical of their ability to reach and manage Flint residents and experts." Although Ms. Walters is rewarded with the Major Environmental Hero prize from North America, the prize is also awarded to activists from several other regions of the world.
The other 5 winners are –
FRANCIA MÁRQUEZ from Colombia: A formidable leader of the Afro-Colombian community, which put pressure on the Colombian government and organized the women of La Toma in the Cauca region to commit illegal activities Prohibit gold mining at its ancestral location.
MANNY CALONZO of the Philippines: Manny Calonzo led an advocacy campaign that forced the Philippine government to enact a national ban on the manufacture, use and sale of lead inks. His decisive efforts have saved millions of Filipino children from death by lead poisoning.
CLAIRE NOUVIAN from France: A tireless protector of oceans and marine life. Claire Nouvian led a data-driven, targeted campaign against deep-sea hard fishing practice. Her work brought French support for the ban on this unethical practice and secured an EU-wide ban.
KHANH NGUY THI from Vietnam: Khanh Nguy Thi used scientific research and commissioned Vietnamese state agencies to inspect sustainable long-term bioenergy forecasts and reduce the country's dependence on coal for power generation. Their efforts helped eliminate 115 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions from Vietnam every year.
MAKOMA LEKALAKALA & LIZ MCDAID from South Africa: Makoma Lekalakala and Liz McDaid set up a broad coalition to stop South Africa's huge nuclear deal with Russia. The work led to a groundbreaking legal victory over the $ 76 billion secret agreement designed to protect South Africa from nuclear waste.
Tags: Environmental Award, Flint activist, Leeanne Walters, Prize