Sun. Jun 13th, 2021

the Torch

The student voice of Wichita High School South

Flint Michigan’s water crisis

6 min read

In 2014, the town of Flint, Michigan underwent a horrific water crisis. The problem started when the town switched their water supply to the Flint River to reduce the cities costs. After this decision, they failed to properly test the water and in doing so lead from the pipes contaminated drinking water. In part of Flint, the lead exposure doubled in children. For months after the situation began, the residents of Flint struggled to get anyone to pay attention to the disaster that was happening to them. Then, the whole world seemed to be watching, celebrities of all types began donating bottled water to the town and the Congress held hearings. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders even held debates in Flint. The state was proved to have purposely ignored the conditions of their residents for months on end. The aftermath of lead poisoning in the people of Flint will last a lifetime. After years of contamination, in April of 2018, Flint’s water was deemed healthy for its residents. It’s said that even though the problem has finally been fixed, the people of Flint no longer have any trust for the Government of their city.

The outcry of Flint has some people believing that this is a rare occurrence but in fact, exposure to lead is very common to the ‘poorer’ American towns and Flint is far from being the first town whose water has contaminated the residents. Flint, though, has become the national known scandal because the situation seemed easily avoidable if the state would’ve just tested the water, the water crisis stretches beyond a single city. The crisis of Flint became public when Americans had started paying more attention to the racial and economic issues that surround us. The headlines and attention Flint had gained is greatly the reason that the cities government finally put an end to the tragedies, without the coverage Flint probably would still have the lead-poisoned water and a government doing the bare minimum.

The issue is far from over, though. This is not where the coverage of cities who have water crisis should end. In practice, it has been said that clean water is a basic human right but in reality, even one of the most wealthy counties do not give their residents the water they should be entitled to. There are tons of cities who have their own water crisis. Cities like Detroit where thousands of residents have had their tap shut off because they do not have the means to pay the bill. In 2017, more than 17,500 Detroit residents had their water turned off. In Modesto, California has had toxic chemicals contaminating their water supply for years. Dallas, Texas struggled with Fracking or hydraulic manufacturing. In their wells, researchers found dangerous levels of arsenic and stated that the closer residents live to the wells the more at risk they are at drinking contaminated water. Towns throughout Puerto Rico didn’t have drinking water months after Hurricane Maria, some residents had to climb uphill to access just a little water. And in Brady, Texas more than 170 million people were exposed to high levels of radium that can increase the risk of cancer to the consumers.

Flint, Michigan was not the first U.S city to have a tragic water crisis and it certainly will not be the last, we should continue to cover the stories of these helpless cities and continue to show the love and provide for the places that are less fortunate.


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June 2021

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