Pearl Jam have pledged a donation of $125,000 (£87,600) to a relief fund for citizens of Flint, Michigan, in response to what has become known as the Flint Water Crisis.
The city’s drinking water supply has been found to have contained lead since it switched its water supply from Detroit’s water system to its own Flint River supply in 2014, as an austerity measure. Residents have complained of vomiting fits, rashes and hair loss as a result of the foul-smelling water.
The crisis reached a head last week (January 16) when a leading doctor declared that every child should be treated as if they had been exposed to lead – a toxic element that accumulates in teeth, soft tissue and bones, and can be lethal. Earlier this month the governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder, declared a state of emergency and the national guard were brought in to distribute bottled water.
It has since been reported that water authorities across the US have been distorting the results of testing to downplay the amount of lead in samples.
In addition to Pearl Jam’s $125,000, “a close group of the band’s friends and partners” will add a further $175,000 to the aid effort. These donors include Live Nation, Republic Records, Glaser Progress Foundation, Ticketmaster, Universal Music Publishing Group and William Morris Endeavor Entertainment.
— Pearl Jam (@PearlJam) January 22, 2016
Now the band is asking their fans to donate and have set up at page on Crowdrise to raise funds. Its total currently sits at $21,000. The band write, “Monetary donations will first be used for the purchase of water filters, bottled water, emergency support services and prevention efforts in Flint, Michigan. After the short-term need of Flint residents has been met, any remaining funds will be directed to the Flint Child Health and Development Fund. This fund will provide aid to children and families with interventions that support positive health outcomes.”
A number of other musicians have also set up relief campaigns. Jack White is rewarding donors with a chance to win a subscriptions to Third Man Records’ Vault. Another Michigan native, Big Sean, has donated $10,000 through his own non-profit, the Sean Anderson Foundation, and has so far raised $19,000. TMZ reports that Meek Mill has sent 60,000 bottles of water to Flint, and has also donated to the Flint Child And Family Health Development Fund.
Last weekend (January 16) Cher donated 180,000 bottles of water. “This is a tragedy of staggering proportion and shocking that it’s happening in the middle of our country,” she said. The same day, documentary filmmaker and Flint native Michael Moore created a petition for President Obama calling upon him to take action.
BREAKING: CBS announces Pres Obama has increased water aid to Flint from $5 million to $80 million. Thanks to all who've signed my petition.
— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) January 22, 2016
Moore has also called for the arrest of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, a cause also supported by actor Mark Ruffalo.
— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) January 23, 2016