A crisis in Flint
Flint’s water supply has become an ongoing issue in the state of Michigan, especially as the water crisis has yet to be fixed since its start four years ago.
For many people, this news broke after nine city current and former state employees were charged. The citizens of Flint however, this news of toxic water was not new to them. It has been an issue they have been dealing with after the city decided to switch the water system from Detroit, MI water supply. Citizens of Flint complained in May of 2014 , that the water smelled, tastes bad and the color was off putting. That did not deter city officials who adamantly told residents the water was fine to drink.
Within the next year, the EPA and DEQ mentions according to the governor’s office that high levels of lead had been found in the water the citizens use daily. This still did not get the city officials including the EPA and DEQ to acknowledge that there is an ongoing problem.
After several independent research testing done by companies such as the Virginia Tech who also found lead levels elevated and made their research public the city did not want to admit the failing to the people of the city.
Additionally, the back and forth on safe levels of water versus none safe levels of water has caused a major distrust with the residents of Flint and their government. What does not help is knowing that for $100 per day 90% of flints water issues could have been prevented. These unprofessional actions has led many to believe this was done intentionally and race driven.
According to a CNN report from February 17, 2017 the “Michigan Civil Rights Commission issues a 129-page report saying, ‘deeply embedded institutional, systematic and historical racism’ indirectly contributed to the ill-fated decision to tap the Flint drinking water at a cost saving measure.”
The population of Flint, MI is 54.8% Black, 37.1% White, and 3.73% Hispanic. 3.11% of the people in Flint, MI speak a non-English language, and 99% are U.S. citizens. If this was indirectly motivated by racial cause, that would be 54,691 black Americans out of 99,802 were subjected to poison intentionally. That is a tough pill to swallow.
What happens when all the buzz surrounding the water issues are no longer relevant, when journalist, reports, and news stations stop reporting on the progress? In short, nothing. Instead we are covering, who the Kardashians husbands are sleeping with, or who our President had an affair with prior to being elected. Or as Fox news reported Panda’s being sex crazed. There should not be a wonder why Flint’s residents feel left alone and now without free bottles of water.
Michigan’s governor Rick Synder announced on Friday April 6, 2018 the state will no longer give out free water due to the strides that have led the water to know be at acceptable lead levels. This year it has tested at 4 PPB. Because of the mistrust between residents to the government, the residents are not happy with the decision to stop the water supply. One resident has said in an interview with the Associated Press, “My water stinks. It still burns to take a shower,” she told The Associated Press. “There’s no way they can say it’s safe.” As a result of this type of feedback local churches are also bracing themselves for a large amount of people who will be coming to request water.
“Mayor Karen Weaver wrote in a letter to state officials on Thursday. ‘Free bottled water should be provided to the people of Flint until the last known lead-tainted pipe has been replaced.’ While this may seem like an easy enough request. Governor Synder has like the original culprits mentioned the saving of money to discontinue these services citing $350 million given by the state via tax payers money and $100 million from the federal government was enough. Furthermore he said, “We will now focus even more of our efforts on continuing with the health, education and economic development assistance needed to help move Flint forward.”
The state will however, continue to provide items such as water testing kits, lead filters and cartridges until the pipes are completely changed by 2020.
What can you do to help? Keep talking about Flint’s water crisis, demand coverage and change. Additionally, continue to reach out to congress and most importantly the governor of Michigan. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Mail: Governor Rick Snyder P.O. Box 30013 Lansing, Michigan 48909 Phone: 517-373-3400 517-335-7858 (Constituent Services). The citizens of Flint are not giving up, today many are marching towards the capital to protest the end of the bottle water program until trust is gained and also until the old rusted lead pipes are replaced.
This story is ongoing as the new events of ending the water program will have new information as the situation develops.