—–By Qing Jin, PhD student of Water INTERface IGEP and Department of Food Science and Technology
To keep water safe, except for the effort of governments such as EPA and WASA, consumers also play great roles. In the Flint water crisis, Lee-Anne Waters as a consumer revealed the problem. She was the mother of two children, and she found that one of her twin sons grew slowly and had speech problems. Therefore, she began investigate it. She found that the water in her home had high lead level. Even though, all governments tried to hide the truth, and told consumers that the high lead level was due to other sources such as paintings but not from water, Lee-Anne still did not give up. With her persistence, the water scandal could be revealed and the situation in Flint became better.
However, there are still some people who are not really helping the situation. For example, after 5 years, the water quality in Flint had changed better and the lead level had been controlled well, but there are some people in Flint who still stressed that the water was not changed at all. They tried to gain sympathy from the society and played the role of victims. In addition, there are some so called ‘citizen scientists’ who used improper methods to test for lead in people’s home, and said that the lead level and other serious problems still remained in people’s home. All of these misguided the truth and the perspectives of the people.
Therefore, it is important for the consumers to differentiate the truth and false, and realize what is worthy of fighting and what should be ignored. It is of great important to have proper ways to educate people, especially the old people who live alone because they are willing to believe in people and easy to be fraud. The government could provide some easy to work methods for the consumers to check the quality of their home. For example, they can establish a set of standardized descriptors and invited people to check their home water sources. In the meantime, the governments should pay more attention to consumers’ requirements. They should find out what the consumers really care about and would like to see some changes. When treating consumer with no or less knowledge, instead of being rude and ignoring questions, they should be patient and try to let the consumers understand what they are doing and what is the importance of the work. The most important thing is that not trying to hide problems but doing the best to solve the problems.
I believe that with the corporation with both the governments and consumers, we could get our water better and safe to drink.