Since April 2014, the city of Flint has been enduring an ongoing water crisis. It’s been four years, and the Michigan citizens are still relying on (slowly dwindling) water donations from various sources. The cause of the crisis — lead pipes and a corrosive water supply — is expected to remain until 2020. Parts of the city are still being exposed to contaminated water, and according to the Washington Post, many of these residents don’t trust their tap water at all.
There may be progress on the horizon, however. Elon Musk, CEO of both SpaceX and Tesla, has shown interest in helping those affected by Flint’s unsafe water supply. After a futile attempt to help the Thai children trapped in a cave, Musk has been receiving quite a bit of flak on social media.
Some of his critics have brought up his lack of support regarding the Flint water crisis, and many people have started referencing the topic in his Twitter mentions. Mari Copeny, a Flint native, replied to one of his tweets on June 27, saying, “Water for Flint and bikes for #FlintKids please.”
Elon responded a week later, saying that he would “look into it.” Skeptics doubted the integrity of this statement, but recent events have shown that Flint is actually on Musk’s mind.
A week after this interaction, Elon replied to another tweet regarding Flint. According to his reply on Twitter, he said, “Please consider this a commitment that I will fund fixing the water in any house in Flint that has water contamination above FDA levels. No kidding.”
The tweet is still posted, and several other comments have followed it. Musk came back to clarify his claims, telling Flint native Jonathan Diener that he’d “send someone to install a water filter” to “every person who replied with “ppm and ppb test results.”
The CEO also promised that he’s in the process of creating an email for the project, and plans to organize a weekend in Flint. The city is a long way from having clean water, but many people are hoping this will become a turning point in the water crisis. Regardless of whether or not it’s a PR stunt, this act of goodwill is not going unnoticed. The reply has garnered over 67,000 likes in the past 12 hours, and that number is steadily growing.
We’re all waiting to see how this turns out, and while tweeting about something isn’t the same as doing it, Elon Musk’s efforts may actually prove useful this time around.