Americans’ Fears About Water Pollution Hit A 16-Year High
The U.S. population appears to be more concerned with polluted water than it has been in over a decade, just as the Trump administration is rolling back water protections.
According to a new Gallup poll, 63 percent of respondents said they worried “a great deal” about pollution of drinking water, while 57 percent of overall respondents also said they were concerned about pollution of rivers, lakes and reservoirs.
The percentage of respondents with water concerns is at its highest level recorded in Gallup’s annual environmental poll since 2001.
The pollsters say respondents’ water pollution concerns are likely linked to the high-profile drinking water crisis in Flint, Michigan, which has elevated an issue that is often out of sight and out of mind.
The poll found that lower-income respondents were far more concerned with water pollution than more affluent ones.
These findings did not come as a surprise to water experts.
Nneka Leiba, deputy director of research at the Environmental Working Group, said the situation in Flint is just one example of a water quality concern likely weighing on Americans’ minds.
“The reality is setting in because real examples are happening.” Unable to play video.
Though some of these examples have been many years in the making, the poll’s findings take on heightened meaning at a time when the Trump administration is pushing to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency’s “waters of the U.S.” Clean Water Rule and slash the EPA’s budget significantly ― actions that could impair the agency’s ability to effectively intervene in future crises.
Cutting the program, advocates fear, could devastate small towns that are already struggling to consistently deliver safe drinking water to their residents.