photo credit: Mark Fisher // Shutterstock
While some of the biggest names in pop culture were inside of the VMAs, being hosted in Newark, New Jersey, protesters were right outside trying to bring awareness to the lead contaminated water currently in the city. The levels of lead in the Newark’s water are some of the highest recently record in the US. Lead contamination in water can damage a child’s health and has been linked to serious, irreversible damage to developing brains.
Not wanting to disturb the awards, police moved protesters about a block or 2 back, but they were able to continue their marching.
On Tuesday, after the awards, the Essex County Improvement Authority announced it will lend $120 million to the city of Newark to replace pipes that are contaminating water with lead. The replacements will come at no cost for Newark residents.
There are about 18,000 privately owned lead service lines within the city that need to be replaced, which was expected to take around 8-10 years to complete, but with the new funding, the city can now make the improvements within the next 2-3 years. About 770 of the lines have been fixed already.
“We are going to use some of these contracts and expand it. We are going to bring more crews in obviously, have a project manager over this and begin putting more people on the ground simultaneously to do this kind of work throughout the city,” Baraka said.
Written by Clarke Jones