How to Combat a Water Crisis – Next City

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How to Combat a Water Crisis

April 15, 2020

Newark’s water is in crisis. In 2019, lead levels in Newark's water reached 57 parts per billion (ppb), four times the legal threshold. According to the Centers for Disease Control, any level of lead present in water is considered to be unsafe, though the federal government mandates that action must be taken if the presence is more than 15 ppb. 

The Newark Water Coalition is working to lessen the impact of the crisis. The Coalition uses a three-fold approach to assist Newark residents. First, the Newark Water Coalition offers residents testing to determine whether there is lead present in the home’s water system. For residents who do not have access to usable or drinkable water, the Newark Water Coalition provides filters and bottled water. Last, the organization teaches citizens the facts about the crisis and how to advocate for themselves. 

While based at St. Lucy’s Church in the summer of 2019, the Newark Water Coalition was able to serve 400 different families through water and filter distribution over a weekly basis. After branching out to a second location in the East Ward of Newark, the team was able to service an additional 75 to 100 families per week. 

Watch Newark Water Coalition co-founders Anthony Diaz and Sabre Bee discuss the history of the water crisis in Newark and how the organization is working to rectify the problem. 

“Superman is not coming to save us. We do not have the privilege of not talking about this and not being loud about this,” says Bee. 

Anthony Diaz was born and raised in Newark, NJ. He has been an activist fighting against gentrification and police brutality in the city of Newark. He ran for City Council in 2018. After the election, he co-founded the Newark Water Coalition.

Sabre Bee is a Newark native and a vegan nutritionist. As a health advocate, she works on campaigns that promote wellness and community action.

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