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“Flint is not a third world country. But it’s a place in great need.” Those words sound very much like comments made this week by President Obama in response to the expanding environmental crisis in Flint, Mich., where contaminated drinking water caused lead levels in children’s blood to rise.
The comment, however, was made in an award-winning MSNBC series, Geography of Poverty, that reported on Flint back in August 2015, highlighting a series of problems in the city, including water contamination:
There are also serious environmental concerns. When industry pulled out of the city, it left behind huge swaths of contaminated land. Aging and decrepit infrastructure, including a deteriorating water system, has meant dangerously high levels of toxins in the city’s water supply.
Just last month, an internal Environmental Protection Agency memo obtained and released by the ACLU of Michigan highlighted growing concerns about high levels of lead contamination, after a local family’s tap water tested at levels nearly three times higher than what would be classified as hazardous waste.
“People are frustrated and tired and hungry,” said Stevenson, who is now the director of development at the local Catholic Charities. “Flint is not a third world country. But it’s a place in great need.”
The MSNBC series was reported by Trymaine Lee, an MSNBC national reporter and Pulitzer Prize-winner, and featured reports from communities across the country where “the most vulnerable Americans are being crushed by the grip of poverty.”