Please welcome Marc Edwards.
-♪ -(cheering, applause)
Welcome to the show.
Thank you for having me.
Uh, so, as we all sawin the piece before the break,
uh, Flint Michigan really isthe tip of the iceberg
when it comes to contaminatedwater in the U.S.
You were one of the people
who helped uncoverthe problems in Flint,
and then you were asked to helpwith the problem afterwards,
which is a strange thing.
Uh... but what can be doneto help at this stage?
In Flint, Michigan, it's nowbecome the best monitored
and one of the best run systemsin the country.
And so as a result,the water is comparable now
to other citiesin the United States.
Flint is still payingthe highest water rates
in the world, and afterthis water is safe to drink,
in the next five years,it's projected to double.
So they won't be able to afford,in many cases,
to purchase the water anymore.
Now, if people can't affordto purchase the water,
and if people can't affordto investigate the water,
then is it up to people like youto go around America
testing the water to seeif it's safe to drink?
I'm ashamed to say thatthat's the current case.
That we were part of a teamat Virginia Tech,
with outsidersand Flint residents,
-exposed the Flint water crisis.-Right.
And unfortunately that's notthe first disaster
that we've exposedin the United States.
So if we look at it now, I mean,
it seems like it's alldoom and gloom, you know.
Everyone focused on Flint.
Flint really becamethe catalyst
for what the conversation was.
But you look at other places,you know,
like Ranger, Texas,and you say
-residents there don't havethe money. -They don't.
The council doesn't havethe money.
Who is supposed to fixthe problem, then?
Well, unfortunately, if you livein poorer towns and cities
in the United States right now,
the reality is that you get thewater you can afford.
And if that water does not meetfederal safety standards,
or it's not suitable for bathingor showering,
that's just your tough luck.
And what's even worse is thatin many of these towns
we're not telling peoplethat the water's not safe.
So, like Flint, Michigan,we had to actually show
neighborhoods of childrenhad elevated blood lead in them,
and 12 people diedfrom Legionnaires disease
before anything was done,
and state and federal moneywas mobilized
to help Flint get the waterit deserves, safe water.
Now, if that's happeningto people,
and the government can't help,
than what can people dofor themselves?
'Cause they have to dosomething.
Well, aside from getting on The Daily Show,
town by town, city by city,and being embarrassed
to the point where the state andfederal government step in,
we as a society haveto start thinking
what kind of country dowe want to live in?
If you're judged by how youtreat your most vulnerable,
and, frankly, in Ranger, Texas,Flint, Michigan right now,
we don't look very good.
So we have to figure out a wayto get state and federal money
to allow these towns to at leastenjoy the same basic level
of civilization that the restof us take for granted.
But if politicians say thatthat funding amounts
to a trillion dollars becausethere are so many lead pipes
in America, where does Americafind a trillion dollars?
Well, where could we find$600 million
to help Flint out ofits water disaster?
Today, we've had to pay$600 million
for health problemsassociated with that.
And all of thiscould have been avoided
for a hundred dollars a dayof corrosion inhibitor,
plus, you know, maybe$100 million dollars
of pipe replacements.
When you look at thisand you work in the world
of water and contamination,
do you ever find it strange
that water bottling companies
get to purchase waterfor cheaper
than many Americansare buying it
from the same government for?
It's absolutely horrifying tosee that our poorest Americans
in these cities where they'velost a lot of their population,
they're payingthe highest water rates
in the worldfor the worst water.
And this is something,you know, we just,
we can't tolerate it anymore.
As you saw, our,many of our poorest citizens
are paying a hundred dollarsa month for bottled water
because, literally,they can't afford to drink
-the water that's coming outof their tap. -Wow.
Honestly, it's one of the mostgrim situations.
I guess the only canary in themine is people like you
who are out there, trying tofind solutions to the problem.
And we'd loveto have you back on
to talk about more of this,and to give us more insight.
-Thank you so much for yourtime. -Thanks for having me.
Really appreciate it,thank you very much.
Marc Edwards, everybody.