Citizens still suffer from Michigan’s blind eye to Flint


AP Photo/Darron Cummings

John Whitaker, executive director of Midwest Food Bank, carries a case of water that was donated, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016, in Indianapolis. All of the water that was collected will be sent to Flint, Mich., where drinking water has been contaminated by lead.

For over a year citizens of Flint, Michigan have been drinking and using lead-tainted water without even a raised eyebrow from city officials. Only now after an outpour of rage from Flint residents are researchers and journalists doing their part to expose the wrongdoings that have tainted the waters in this Michigan city.

Only a week ago did the Federal Emergency Management Agency answer to a call of help from Michigan Governor, Rick Snyder. President Obama issued a state of emergency for Flint early this month and the National Guard and volunteers have done their part in distributing bottled water to residents, but Flint deserves more. The impoverished city of a black majority has been ignored for far too long about a problem that bottled water can no longer fix.

Immediately after the decision to change pipeline paths, E Coli was found in the water to which officials responded to by adding chlorine to the water. This created a byproduct carcinogen called trihalomethane (TTHM), but it wasn’t until January of 2015 that residents were informed.

After this, officials should have tested and taken action to correct the problem, but instead a blind eye continued to worsen problems for residents.

Residents pushed to question city officials why their water was in the state it was and why their children’s health was at risk over something they couldn’t control. The water was so bad at this point that General Motors was granted special permission to supply its Flint plant with water from Lake Huron because the water from the Flint River was rusting engine parts.

An entire corporation was granted permission to change its source of water because it tarnished widgets, but residents were still encouraged their water wasn’t deteriorating their health. This should have been a giant red flag to any ethical person to make changes in the water distribution system.

A civil engineering professor at Virginia Tech, Marc Edwards, was contacted to research further into the water crisis in Flint. Edwards’ findings concluded the water reacted with plumbing and attracted lead into the water.  Local articles and news stories downplayed the gravity of the situation, leaving the residents of Flint helpless.

Besides being a public relations nightmare, Flint government faces a problem that will only continue to worsen if actions are taken fast.

Today residents continue to battle government officials and journalists who inaccurately tell the horror the residents of Flint are living through. Children who are diseased and now face physical challenges as a result of the water intake will forever be changed and the only form of help or compensation families in Flint have seen is a still a scarce amount of bottled water.

Officials are working to find blame for a situation that has been sickening and killing a city for two years. Whoever is to blame there has to be a fix, and fast. It is has to start with Governor Snyder finding money whether it is from the state budget or a plea to the federal government. It starts with Snyder, but it takes a larger force of outsiders and continued media attention to solve the problem these individuals are forced to live with.