The people of Flint, Michigan, have now been without clean drinking water for a remarkable five years.
The water crisis began in 2014, when the city's drinking water source was changed from Lake Huron to the Flint River. Insufficient water treatment resulted in over 100,000 residents being subjected to elevated lead levels in their drinking water.
Since then, Flint citizens have been forced to rely on the costly and highly inefficient method of using bottled water for all drinking, cleaning and hygiene purposes. Now, help is coming from an unexpected source: 20-year-old rapper and actor Jaden Smith, the son of Hollywood power couple Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith.
In addition to acting in such films as "The Karate Kid" and "After Earth," Jaden Smith has also been a partner in the U.S.-based water company JUST Water since he was only 12 years old, according to Buzz On Earth. The organization is devoted to creating an affordable water filtration system that can be used to provide clean drinking water to impoverished communities, as well as reducing plastic pollution by making water bottles from 100 percent recyclable plant-based plastic.
JUST Water has now teamed up with a local church to provide Flint residents with an alternative to bottled water. The organization collaborated with First Trinity Missionary Baptist Church to design and engineer a mobile water filtration system known as "The Water Box," which reduces lead and other potential contaminants and can fill a 5-gallon jug in 30 seconds, according to MLive.
The box is based on the same filtration system that JUST Water uses on a much larger scale at its Glens Falls, New York, facility.
"Essentially you could hook it up to the hose on the side of your house and it will filtrate that water," explained church spokesperson Catrina Tillman. "This water box will help us further our reach in regard to servicing residents with clean water."
Throughout the Flint Water Crisis, First Trinity Missionary Baptist Church has distributed over 5 million bottles of water to residents in need, yet with the crisis dragging on so long that it has largely lost the attention of the general public, bottled water donations have to continued to decline.
"We don't want to disrupt what's happening with the donation of bottled water to Flint," Jaden Smith clarified. "We just want to be the backbone in case something happens to that supply of donated bottled water."
However, Tillman has praised the Water Box for not only providing clean drinking water, but for creating a sustainable source of drinking water that can be reused by residents in a way that water bottles cannot. Though the church will continue to provide bottled water to residents, Tillman said she hopes the community will eventually transition to primarily using the Water Box.
"It's going to take time, but our hope is that we can cut back on the use of plastic water bottles and they can convert over to the gallons," she told MLive.
In early March, Jaden visited the church to celebrate the launch of the Water Box. He was joined by his mother Jada, who announced to the crowd that she would be donating money for another system to be built, according to a local NBC news affiliate.
The Flint water crisis has illustrated the importance of water treatment. To help your customers make a healthy investment in clean drinking water, contact Aqua Finance today to learn more about our water treatment financing programs.