Flint Water Crisis

John Marfice, Staff Writer

Water, H2O, Agua. Whatever you call it, it’s no secret that we all need it. Basic human necessity. Now, how would you feel if all of a sudden you were confined to drinking only bottled water, nothing out of the tap. This is essentially what residents of a city in Michigan called Flint is facing. Now, the Flint water crisis has been in the news a bit, but it’s recent events haven’t been getting a whole lot of media attention, due to President Trump’s controversial ban on Immigration stealing the limelight. So let’s take a look.

Flint. This is a decently sized town in Michigan, about 80 miles North of Detroit. Flint has a predominantly black population of about 100,000. If you have read Bud Not Buddy by Paul Curtis in any of your past English classes, then you have heard of this city before. The city used to thrive before the 1980’s when it was host to the largest manufacturing line for General Motors. However, the city met a decline in population and funding in the 1980’s when General Motors downscaled it’s manufacturing lines, putting much of Flint into unemployment and poverty. The city still bears the scars of this even today, with 41.2 percent of its citizens living below the poverty line, and only making a yearly income of about $22,000.

The city itself has been enduring a huge issue and a state of emergency with its supply of drinking water containing drastically high levels of toxins and lead, an element that can be toxic in even small amounts.  The Flint River had been the city’s main source of water for decades before 1967, before switching to Lake Huron. However, in 2014, they made the switch back to Flint River in an effort to decrease funding to the city’s water. Almost immediately after, some older neighborhoods had to be put on a boil-water advisory, as the tap water there was said to contain potentially dangerous levels of coliform bacteria and potentially E. Coli. Disgusting. What was happening was the river water contained elements that made it corrosive, and it was withering away the pipes. Because of this, Lead was now leeching into the water pipes, contaminating the water. In some tests, the ordinary tap water tested in at levels up to 13,200 ppb (Parts per billion) for lead. To put into perspective, water with a Lead ppb level of around 5,000 is classified by the Environmental Protection Agency to be toxic waste. People are essentially drinking toxic waste with double the toxicity.

As a result, several lawsuits against the city and the EPA alike have popped up, and at least 6,000-12,000 children have been exposed to lead poisoning. This is one of the rougher facts, and this case is not getting the attention, coverage, or recognition it needs and deserves. Lawsuits such as this tend to go more in the favor of the defendant, and this is no different. Whenever a new case is brought up, it is very quickly shut down. A recent 772 million dollar class-action lawsuit was filed against the EPA on January 30th, and it was quickly shot down not even a week later, on February 3rd. This crisis as a whole is a tragic event and is denying people of essential resources to live a life, and should not be happening. If you as students want to help, there are dozens of GoFundMe pages gathering donations that you can find with a quick Google search. These donations are aimed to fund the lawsuits and to bring bottled water and purifiers into the city. These temporary yet pricey fixes should be a temporary solution until the city changes back to Detroit water.

              Picture from gofundme.com