Flint Water Crisis:
How Did This Happen?

Many Flint residents live below the poverty line. Photo Credit / Wiki
Many Flint residents live below the poverty line. Photo Credit / Wiki
Many Flint residents live below the poverty line. Photo Credit / Wiki

Many Flint residents live below the poverty line.
Photo Credit / Wiki

By Brittany Barnes
Staff Writer

On Jan. 16, President Obama declared a federal state of emergency in Flint, Michigan. This declaration freed up five million federal dollars to immediately assist the city during its public health crisis.

The crisis at hand is the orange and brown colored water Flint residents have been drinking since 2014.

According to CNN, in April 2014 the state decided to switch where Flint was receiving its water.

The state was paying Detroit in order to get water from Lake Huron. In efforts to save money, state officials chose to begin receiving water from the Flint River.

The river was known around the city for being outrageously filthy.

Not long after the switch, residents started to notice the discoloration in the water, undesirable taste, and unpleasant smell.

Despite the fact that residents were trying to call attention to the dirty water, they were told repeatedly that the water was safe to drink.

CNN states that former mayor, Dayne Walling drank the water on a local TV station to prove that the water was safe.

Between August and September of 2014, the city advised residents to boil their water due to coli bacteria detection. As it turned out, the water was contaminated with lead.

According to a class-action lawsuit, the water in the Flint River was not treated properly with an anti-corrosive agent.

On top of that, more than half of the pipes that connect to homes are made of lead.

The mixture of the lead pipes and the untreated water caused the lead to filter into the water supply.

Lead poisoning is dangerous, especially amongst children. It can damage organs such as the kidneys and it can affect the reproductive system.

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a pediatrician at Flint’s Hurley Medical Center, tells CNN, “It’s a well-known, potent neurotoxin. There’s tons of evidence on what lead does to a child, and it is one of the most damning things that you can do to a population. It drops your IQ, it affects your behavior, it’s been linked to criminality, it has multigenerational impacts. There is no safe level of lead in a child.”

As of now, the water supply has been switched back to Lake Huron, but the damage is already done.

Residents have been receiving free water filters and bottled water.

They are forced to use bottled water for every tasks like washing dishes, brushing teeth, and washing hands.

The big question is, “how did this happen?” Everyone has theories.

Some state that it is environmental racism, due to the large African American population.

Some believe that this was a way to keep the people of Flint, who are mostly living in poverty, down, with no hope of getting better.

Hanna-Attisha states to CNN that “If you were to put something in a population to keep them down for generation and generations to come, it would be lead.”

I think this problem has nothing to do with race, I believe it has to do with the greed and recklessness of the government officials.

Michigan Governor Rick Synder and others were more concerned with saving money than the safety and health of the residents in Flint.

Gov. Synder and former Mayor Walling, purposely lied to the people of Flint.

They, along with others, should have some consequence for their actions except for apologies.

There is no apology anyone can come with to excuse poisoning an entire city of people and children.

Email Brittany at:
bbarnes1@live.esu.edu

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