NEW YORK (Sputnik) — On Tuesday, Walker and other members of the Detroit Water Brigade will address a forum of the UN Commission for Social Development’s annual meeting in New York. The presentation is expected to last approximately two hours, Walker added.
"What I’m hoping they [the United Nations] do is address the leaders of this country and other countries on how it’s shameful what’s happening in Detroit and Flint," Walker said. "There need to be charges. No one should be above the people."
In October 2014, UN special rapporteur on the right to safe drinking water and sanitation, Catarina de Albuquerque, visited different parts of Detroit and talked to a wide range of people whose water had been shut off or who were struggling to pay water bills.
In 2015 alone, the city reportedly saw nearly 3,000 shutoffs per month.
A water crisis in the city of Flint has been developing for almost two years. Local residents have been consuming lead-contaminated tap water, which is a powerful neurotoxin.
The US authorities put the issue in the limelight in October 2015 and the city once again started using water from Detroit. Nevertheless, years of contamination has already inflicted severe damage to people’s health and households.
According to the UN's website, 663 million people globally lack access to improved drinking water, and 1.8 billion use a source of drinking water that is fecally contaminated. While these are not common problems in the developed world, Flint and Detroit are "rust belt" cities, which were abandoned by manufacturers and residents alike from the late 1960's onward. Detroit's population peaked at 1.86 million in 1950 and has since fallen to about 680,000. The city's population is predominantly black; less that 8% of residents are white and not of Hispanic origin.