The Water Crisis in Flint

flint water
A city employee flushed out a hydrant (Source: CNN)

 

The small city of Flint, Michigan, has been all over the news lately. What happened there could be considered to be a small and local crisis, but it is too revolting to go unnoticed. Over a long period of time the inhabitants have been poisoned because their authorities wanted to economize.

It all started, two years ago when the town officials started to pump the water, for the town, from the Flint River instead of the Lake Huron (which is also where the city of Detroit gets its water from), like they did until then. They intended to save money by doing so. The Flint River was known to be filthy and no one believed it the authorities would really do it. But they did and soon the tap water became brown and smelly. That’s because the Flint River is highly corrosive and it hasn’t been treated properly with anti-corrosive agents, therefore damaging the iron water mains and lead water lines that lead supply the homes water. That caused a high amount of iron and lead, which is highly poisonous, to leak into the tap water. After two years of denial from the officials during which they said that everything was fine, some scientists made tests on the water to prove that the water was poisoned and should not be consumed. From October 2015 on, the water supplies were taken from Lake Huron again, but the lines were already too damaged for it to change much.

The crisis got the attention from the media and now even Barack Obama issued a state of emergency and send the National Guard to help distribute clean drinking water to the more than 100.000 homes. Celebrities like Michel Moore have also expressed their indignation and asked for Michigan’s Governor Rick Snyder to be arrested or at least resign for trying to cover the whole up. There is also a law suit against the city officials and the. A study from 2011 says that the water would have been potable if treated, but the treatment cost about 100$ a day and so nothing was done and the water was used just like this. Because the inhabitants drank the lead-poisoned water for so long, they might have some serious medical issues and especially the children and babies will suffer from brain damages and other disabilities when they grow up.

Flitn, water supplies
An inhabitant who just got clean drinking water

It is sad and frustrating that this tragedy could have been prevented if the city official would have cared a little more for their people. A simple, but costly measure would have saved Flint’s inhabitants a lot of trouble. Michigan being a poor state in general, one can be sure that they have no proper health care and enough other struggles in general. It is yet another example, for the common people to suffer from budget cuts or simply the greed of politicians. But crime does not pay. Those who are behind this didn’t win a dime because they have been sued and are most likely to lose the case and lose any profit they made. But they still destroyed many lives. This situation is more or less under control there now, but where else are things like this happening? When will the politicians understand that they do what they do for the people and not for themselves?

 

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