The Smith family is making sure we don’t forget about Flint.
Will Smith and his youngest son, Jaden Smith have donated 9,200 bottles of water to Flint, Michigan through their e eco-friendly water company, Just Water. The celebrity-father-son duo pledge to continue giving monthly to the city until lead levels in the public schools’ water are below the federal threshold.
After reading about the high lead levels in some Flint schools, Just Water CEO Ira Laufer told MLive the donation to the city was “a no-brainer.” “This just makes sense for us to do,” Laufer said. “Jada Smith has visited Flint and met with the mayor… After reading more about [Flint’s] challenges and the mayor objecting to pulling bottled water from the schools, we thought ‘Let’s help these kids.’”
Although initial tests conducted in February showed that lead levels in some Flint schools were below the federal action limit, five out of nine elementary schools had at least one test that exceeded that threshold.
For the Past 18 months, Flint’s water supply has tested within federal guidelines for lead, but residents are still being cautioned to drink and use bottled water or faucet filters as a precaution. The city reportedly has five state-funded bottled water and faucet-filter distribution centers. A larger review of the Flint’s water quality is slated to be in effect later this month, but the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality says that there’s no timeline for making recommendations about Flint once that review is complete.
Flint Mayor Karen Weaver has said the state should continue supplying bottled water to the city until all lead and galvanized services lines are replaced. This could potentially not be completed until the year 2020.
In a statement to MLive, Weaver said, “I feel even stronger about this position after recent water test results from Flint schools, provided by [the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality] showed results where lead levels were above the level recommended by the medical community of 5 [parts per billion], as well as the Lead and Copper Rule action level of 15 ppb.”
Just Water sent four pallets of water to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan at the beginning of March.
The Smiths founded Just in 2015. Its packaging is crafted from renewable sources, and its water comes from an ethically sourced model contributing to the economy in Glenn Falls, N.Y.
Ivie is a Nigerian-American, native New Yorker, and journalist covering culture. Usually on-air, on deadline, and on point. @ivieani