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Flint Activist Wins Great Environmental Award: The Two-Way: NPR



LeeAnne Walters, a recipient of the Goldman Environmental Prize, was the key to uncovering the lead-acid water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

Michael Gleason / The Goldman Environmental Award


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Michael Gleason / The Goldman Environmental Award

LeeAnne Walters, a recipient of the Goldman Environmental Prize, was the key to uncovering the lead-acid water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

Michael Gleason / The Goldman Environmental Prize

A Flint activist who has been working to uncover the leading crisis in Michigan City is hailed as an environmental hero. She is one of the winners of the Goldman Environmental Prize 2018.

The award, announced Monday, honors environmental activists from around the world.

Shortly after the city of Flint converted its water source in April 2014 to save money, LeeAnne Walters discovered a rash among her twins. Walters is a mother of four, and she and her children began to experience other health problems, such as hair loss, and she suspected that the brown water was pouring from her faucet.

It Required Measures from Local Officials and Confronted Them with Bottles of Discoloured Water

"At the end of 2014, Walters first informed the city about the water problem, but only in February 2015 was the city sent someone to review their complaints, "said the price administrators. "Tests showed that the lead concentration in their drinking water was 104 parts per billion (ppb) – unprecedented levels for Flint, so high that a city needs to warn its residents immediately according to federal law."

However, the authorities continued to tell the residents that their water was safe, even though one of the children was diagnosed with Walter's lead poisoning and all tested positive for lead exposure.

"We went to city council meetings," Walters told Michigan Radio. and we were told we were liars, we were stupid that this was not our water. Walters trained on water chemistry, working with Miguel Del Toral, an EPA official, working with Marc Edwards, a professor at Virginia Tech, to help her track the crisis and build houses in Flint.

"Walters methodically tried every zip code in Flint and set up a system to ensure the completeness of the tests," said the Goldman Prize. "She worked over 100 hours a week for over three weeks and garnered over 800 Water samples – and achieved a staggering 90% response rate. "Some of these samples far outnumbered hazardous waste levels.

Walters and Edwards proved that" every sixth house has a lead water level that exceeds the EPA's legal safety threshold. " Walters suggested that the city had not properly treated the water to prevent the pipes from corrugated odors, causing lead to penetrate the water.

Finally, Flint moved from Detroit to his original source of water. A state of emergency was declared by the state and the Obama administration. Walters continues to work on water quality issues in Flint and other US cities.

Here are the six other winners and their achievements, according to the Goldman Price Administrators:

  • FRANCIA MÁRQUEZ, Colombia: An Impressive Leader In The Afro-Colombian Community, Francia Márquez pressured and organized the Colombian government the women of La Toma in the Cauca region to stop illegal gold mining on their ancestral lands.
  • CLAIRE NOUVIAN, France: A tireless defender of The Oceans and Marine Life, Claire Nouvian led a focused, data-driven advocacy campaign against the destructive fishing practices of deep-sea bottom trawling. Their work brought French support for a ban on the practice and secured an EU-wide ban.
  • MAKOMA LEKALAKALA & LIZ MCDAID, South Africa: As grassroots activists, Makoma Lekalakala and Liz McDaid founded a broad coalition to stop the South from Africa's massive nuclear deal with Russia. Their work resulted in a groundbreaking legal victory over the secret $ 76 billion agreement that protects South Africa from nuclear waste.
  • MANNY CALONZO, Philippines: Manny Calonzo led an advocacy campaign that persuaded the Philippine government to ban national production, use and sale of lead paint. His efforts have protected millions of Filipino children from lead poisoning.
  • KHANH NGUY THI, Vietnam: Khanh Nguy Thi used scientific research and dedicated Vietnamese government agencies to promote sustainable long-term energy projections and reduction of coal power dependence in Vietnam. Their efforts helped eliminate 115 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions from Vietnam every year.

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