This week a public health emergency was declared in Flint, MI. Finally. Although residents have been complaining for over a year that their water was tainted (dirty, smelly, and full of particles), only now has it been recognized by local city officials and Michigan’s Governor and getting the attention of federal agencies. Flint began using the Flint River as its water source in April 2014 believing that the city could save millions of dollars from disconnecting from the Detroit water system. The Flint River solution was a temporary one until the city could connect to the Karegnondi Water Authority in 2016 which pulls water from Lake Huron. Maybe they could have waited until that was completed? Maybe the engineers and planners could have checked the pipes before they made the break? Maybe a water sampling could have been part of the plan?
More importantly, why were these residents ignored for so long? Why were their concerns and petitions denied for so long? Is a poor city less important to our society? Are the lead levels in their children’s bodies not a concern? Why did it take a doctor to reveal that yes, after a year of being exposed to this dirty water, the children do have a spike in their blood lead levels?
When an automotive manufacturer is held responsible for a design defect that may cause your car to maybe exhibit a dangerous feature under exactly the right mix of conditions, it gets federal attention. When a violent person takes the innocent lives of students in our schools, the media jumps all over it. But the slow poisoning of our state’s children isn’t even recognized until these 100,000 residents endure over a year’s worth of exposure. Is the slower poisoning of people more tolerable?
Where is the red cross with their emergency water supply, where are the officials with an immediate remedy, why isn’t the water immediately reconnected to the old supply as soon as an issue is revealed? Why is everyone ignoring the issue for so long? I’m positive, that this would never have gone on so long in one of Michigan’s wealthier cities.
So now that we are addressing the situation, let’s had out filters that are certified to “reduce” lead. Not remove lead, reduce lead. Would you drink this water? Fix this now!