But living with a family that can afford to purchase clean water, I didn’t realize until recently that not everyone has that same luxury. A few weeks ago several of my friends were asking me about my home state and the topic of the Flint water crisis came up. In my explanation of the problem I said it was similar to Pital in that they can’t drink their water. Their response was to name several families who do drink the water. When I asked why they responded, because they are poor. The families my friends named are not even among the poorest of Pital, meaning a significant portion of the town is drinking water that I was told in no uncertain terms not to drink.
According to the Colombian government, half of the country does not have clean water. The causes are numerous, including industrial pollution, drug production run off, improper sewage treatment, and destruction of the Páramos (the largest source of fresh water in Colombia). Ironically, Colombia ranks among the top 10 countries with the most water. It is just as shocking that so many Colombians are without clean water as it is that the city of Flint, situated so close to one of the largest fresh water sources in the world, remains without.
In the year since my last post nothing has changed. Flint still does not have clean water. Pital does not have clean water. 1/10 of the world does not have clean water. We continue to deny this basic necessity to hundreds of millions of people. As I said a year ago, water is life. Water is a right, not a privilege. It should be our priority to ensure every person in this world has access.