Newark Water Crisis? Importance of Environmental Regulations

With the ongoing revelations regarding the mismanagement of the drinking water in Newark, New Jersey, more and more people are waking up to the fact that environmental regulations are extremely important for the health of local communities and need to be addressed on more of a national scale.

Everyone by now has heard of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, and the disastrous issues they’ve had. After switching their source of drinking water to a local river, massive government oversight led to increased levels of lead in the drinking water of the entire city. Other contaminates were present in the water as well.

This led to public outrage as increased as health issues skyrocketed. The crisis, which began over half a decade ago, has since mounted into a full-scale national hot-button issue that still hasn’t been fully resolved as of this writing.

What’s alarming is, despite the public outcry and national awareness of what has happened in Flint, Michigan, it appears as if similar issues are still occurring all over the country.

Including right here in New Jersey.

America’s Failing Infrastructure

It’s not exactly a secret that the country has not invested enough on infrastructure over the past few decades.

There are several parts of the electrical grid and sewer systems of the country that are still exactly as they were in the 50’s and 60’s. Sadly this isn’t hyperbole.

In the minds of many people, there simply isn’t enough money to go around for our roads, highways, utilities, and public transportation, among other services.

However, as the years wear on, we’re beginning to see what the cost of poor infrastructure really is.

There is also another aspect of this, as a gutted EPA and lax environmental regulations can lead to massive government oversight on keeping rivers and other bodies of water clean. Add in ab bit of corruption, and you have the perfect recipe for a public crisis.

The last few years, just such a crisis has not only happened in Flint, but also in Newark, New Jersey. Increased lead levels in drinking water have led to an all-out public health emergency.

Officials have been struggling to contain the issue, but it’s beginning to get the national coverage it deserves.

Rethinking Environmental Regulations

The national conversation on environmental regulations seems to center around how it will or will not stifle businesses.

We need to start thinking bigger.

The recent fires in Australia are just another catastrophe in an ever-growing list of climate change-related disasters that are beginning to cost upwards to hundreds of billions of dollars globally, per year.

At some point we have to start making the argument that what good is a business that saves money on ignoring environmental regulations if it gets destroyed in a climate related disaster?

It could happen anywhere, at any time, and this fact needs to be hammered home. The entire planet is struggling under the weight of our decisions with the environment. It’s becoming increasingly clear that regulations aren’t just necessary, they are the only humane option in a world that is seeing untold suffering unfold just for the sake of industry.

This must change.

It’s time to change the discussion with environmental regulations, and insist that businesses adhere to them. When new regulations that seem restrictive or costly are introduced in the coming years, businesses need to be willing to embrace them or fail.

The cost of ignoring environmental regulations is real. When led ends up in our drinking water or our homes are destroyed in massive, billion-dollar fires, we will only have ourselves to blame if we don’t push for change now.

Newark should be a lessen to us locally here on the east coast. The midwest isn’t the only area of the country suffering from poor investment in infrastructure. This is a national issue, and we need to start treating it like one.

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