This do not look at as a luxury until

This
Flint Water Crisis has been going on for nearly four years. Families across
Flint and surrounding areas have been living their lives without the small
luxury we take for granted, clean drinking water. The switching of the water
supplier from Detroit, to the Flint River in hopes to save money, is now
costing them more money than they could have ever imagined dealing with. With
the consumption of this lead-contaminated water, leads to many health problems,
especially amongst children. State and local officials are working together and
separately to come up with a valid plan that could save Flint’s residents, but
the road isn’t going to be easy. Flint’s contaminated drinking water is harming
the people of Flint, but by bringing awareness to the issue at a larger scale,
gives them a better opportunity of finally getting the problem fixed. State and
local officials should be doing anything and everything that they can to find
some sort of resolution to enable Flint residents to have clean water again.

I chose this topic because I feel like it is something
that is very important to still be spoken about, not only in Michigan, but
across the United States, to bring more awareness to the issue. I also chose
this because I don’t live far from Flint, and to know that they are going
through a huge crisis like this and it is only an hour from me, it truly insane
to me. I drive through Flint all the time, and often go shopping there as well,
so being there and knowing that they are going through something so devastating
breaks my heart. I think that this issue needs to be continually addressed
until Flint has clean water again, or until something is truly done about the
issue that has been going on for years and years. Everyone deserves to have the
small luxury of clean water, something that many of us do not look at as a
luxury until it is taken away from you. It is also important to note that the
high levels of lead that are in Flint water has impacted everyone residing in
Flint, and those that have consumed it may have everlasting affects of it. I
think that that is important and another main reason that I chose this topic
because even when the water is fixed, and they have clean water again, that
doesn’t reverse the damage that has already been done to the people, especially
the children that are living there. Because of the precautionary measures that were
not taken when Flint switched from getting water from Detroit through Lake
Huron, to the Flint River, in an act to save money, caused detrimental chaos in
the city that now will cost them even more money to fix.

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This problem began arising in April 2014 when Flint
switched their water source from Detroit to the Flint River in hopes that it
would be saving them money. The plan wasn’t to stick with getting water from
the Flint River, they just were awaiting a new way of getting water that would
be more affordable to the city. The people that lived in Flint though, noticed
the water was bad almost right away, complaining about the smell, color, and
taste, knowing that something wasn’t right with the water that they were
consuming. Early 2015, problems and questions began to arise a few months down
the line from Flint switching to the river water. Everyone was told by leaders
in Flint that the water was safe and consumable, which didn’t convince many
people, but they proceeded with the consumption and moved on with their day to
day life. Later, in the year of 2015, approximately nine months, citizens were
told to stop consuming the water because they were finding that children were
having higher levels of lead in their blood, and that is when Governor Rick Snyder
stepped into play (A Timeline of the Water Crisis in Flint, Michigan). Snyder
told the city of Flint that there was an issue with their water and that tremendous
amounts of lead were being found within it. He announces that the “…state will
spend $1 million to buy water filters and test water in Flint public schools,
and days later calls for Flint to go back to using water from Detroit’s system”
(A Timeline of the Water Crisis in Flint, Michigan). Snyder crafted a plan to
try and fix the problem in Flint, before finding out that it wouldn’t be as
easy as he had planned on, and the damage had already been done regardless of
switching back to getting water from Detroit. Snyder even went as far as to
work with the Michigan Legislature to get an aid of $9 million to help the
water, and to switch back to the water that they were originally getting from
Flint, which took most of the money that was aided. A man by the name of Dan
Wyant, worked for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, offered his
resignation in 2015 because they were blamed for the water being corrosive and
not following the measures that should’ve been taken to provide the city with
clean drinking water. In an article, Snyder states that “‘We believe the
primary responsibility for what happened in Flint rests with the Michigan
Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ)…” (Director Dan Wyant). Over the
year of 2016, Snyder declares that Flint is in a state of emergency, while the
Michigan National Guard starts to distribute bottles of water to the residents,
so that they have some sort of clean drinking water available, while they try
to get the federal government involved with the issue that has, at this point,
been going on for two years. Continuing in this article about the
timeline of events that have led up until now with the Flint Water Crisis,
Snyder “…asks the Obama
administration for major disaster declaration and more federal aid” (A Timeline of the Water Crisis in Flint, Michigan) in early 2016. They were only aided with money.

This issue is a problem because of all the people that
are being affected in Flint by the lead that is contaminating their water. It
is especially a problem within the children that have consumed the poisoned
waters because by consuming lead, it has irreversible and detrimental effects
forever. A woman by the name of Mona Hanna-Attisha, a young
pediatrician at Flint’s Hurley Medical Center, said that “‘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'” (How Tap Water Became Toxic in Flint, Michigan).
This is important to note because Flint is already labeled as one of the most
dangerous cities in the United States, and to link high-levels of consumed lead
in a person to criminality will impact the city and its crime tremendously in
years to come, if this is the case. This is also an important fact because
these children that have been impacted by this will face struggles with
schooling growing up, between the IQ levels dropping, and a change in their
behaviors. It is controversial because “During April 25, 2014–October 15, 2015,
approximately 99,000 residents of Flint, Michigan, were affected by changes in
drinking water quality after their water source was switched from the Detroit
Water Authority (DWA), sourced from Lake Huron, to the Flint Water System
(FWS), sourced from the Flint River” (Morbidity
and Mortality Weekly Report). This makes it controversial because of the amount
of people that have been affected by the switch of the water sources. I think
it is important to recognize how many people that truly is and how important it
is to see that so many families in children have been affected by the
contaminated water that is causing irreversible damage to them. This is
something that shouldn’t have been going on for nearly four years now, and
these children have been growing up without clean drinking water. I think that
even that in itself is controversial because these kids growing up learning
that their water isn’t safe to drink, and the not knowing of when it will be
safe to drink is very upsetting.

The people that are mainly affected by this issue is
the people that are living in Flint that are forced to deal with not having
clean water every single day for years. On a larger scale though, it has been
affecting everyone in the state of Michigan because we long for Flint to have
clean water again and for something to be done about it, to find a solution to
this problem that has been going on for several years. This crisis has also
been taken to a grand scale as well, where people all over the United States
are begging and pleading for something to be done about the unclean water that
is ruining the everyday life of citizens residing in Flint. It has also
affected many people on the state and local government levels are well. They
have both been under fire for the unclean drinking water, and trying to figure
out how they possibly didn’t know this was going to happen. The state and local
governments were immediately blamed for it, and should’ve taken the
precautionary measures to make sure that the Flint River was being treated
properly and was up to the regulatory standards that it should have been.

People view the Flint Water Crisis from many different
approaches. The state and local government at the time, in 2014 believed that
by switching from their water source in Detroit to the Flint River, that it
would be saving the city money, and that it would not be a problem to the
citizens there, which it wouldn’t have been if the precautionary measures to
treating the water were done properly when the switch was completed. From the
standpoint of the local and state government, the move sounded fantastic,
because not only would they be saving money, but their water wouldn’t be coming
from so far away. From the people of Flint’s standpoint, they knew right away
that getting their water from the Flint River was a bad idea, and no on truly
believed that the city would do that, since those that live in Flint, and surrounding
areas know that the river is disgusting and filthy, and that no one should ever
be drinking that, knowing that it is full of chemicals. In fact, one woman by
the name of Rhonda Kelso said “‘We thought it was a joke,” said, a
long-time Flint resident… ‘People my age and older, thought ‘They’re not going
to do that'” (How Tap Water Became Toxic in Flint, Michigan).

In January through April of 2016, after Flint was
declared a state of emergency, evidence arose that the state of Michigan is
held accountable for what has happened to the Flint water, because of the
environmental regulators not following the guidelines as to how the water was
supposed to be taken care of. “Two state officials and a local official are
charged with evidence tampering and other crimes in the Michigan attorney
general’s investigation — the first to be levied in the probe” (A Timeline of
the Water Crisis in Flint, Michigan). This affects elected officials and
government employees because they were trying to obscure the information and
the truth from residents, and everyone else that was watching the crisis in
Flint, making them sound not credible for any information at all from that
point on. I believe that these two state officials, and one local official were
scared about the truth getting out about what had happened to the water, and
were trying to cover-up the damage that was unfolding within the city because
of it. I think all three of these people knew exactly what was going on from
early on when Flint had switched their water sources, and when everything
started to unfold, they made every effort to hide the valuable information that
they were keeping a secret from everyone. They affect this issue because had
they have just been honest about what they knew was going on, or have not
tampered with the evidence, it could’ve prevented them from being charged with
anything, and made them a lot more credible of people to the public. It also
makes a lot of people wonder what other government officials may know that just
hasn’t been found out yet by the public.

I can tie this issue to the material in the textbook
and what I have learned in class because the state is supposed to oversee regulating
public utilities, including water. I think it is important to say that when the
water was switched to using the Flint River, the state may have overlooked
making sure that the water was going to be safe to drink, and that it was being
properly treated. This is a huge deal because it impacted thousands of lives in
Flint and surrounding areas.

What surprised me the most about doing this research
is to really feel what the people of Flint are truly going through. I had no
idea that the lead that was being found in their water resulted in hair loss, a
drop in IQ, and linked to criminality. Those are serious things that are going
to be detrimental for the kids that are growing up within the city of Flint.
Another thing that surprised me the most when doing this research was that it
has now been going on for almost four years. I had known that it had been going
on for a while, but didn’t realize that it had really been that long that they
have been without clean water, which breaks my heart. The small luxury of clean
water is taken advantage of every single day in most places in the United
States, and you never know how much you truly appreciate it until it is gone.
My heart goes out to the people of Flint, and something should’ve already been
done to resolve this issue that has been going on for far too long. Another
thing that surprises me about the fact that it has been going on for nearly
four years, is the fact that Flint residents have sort of adapted to just not
having clean water. Yes, they are angry and upset and would like clean water,
but they have been without it for so long that it has unfortunately just become
a way for their everyday life because nothing has been done about it to fix it.
It is shocking to me that there hasn’t been a violent uprising and continual
destructive violence within protests over this matter in Flint.

I believe that this issue can be resolved, I think that
it is based on the amount of money that the city is really going to need to fix
the problem that was created to save money. I don’t think that it is going to
be a simple fix at all, because if it was, then it would have already been
done. From my research, I have gathered that they only way that it can be fixed
is to replace all the pipelines, find out and pinpoint exactly what went wrong
within the switch and within the pipelines, and hold the people that knew what
was in store for the switch of water sources accountable for their actions (No Simple
Fix for Flint Water Crisis).

The Flint Water Crisis has been ongoing for nearly
four years and nothing has yet to be done to fix it. Many families in Flint and
surrounding areas are living and growing up without the ability to access clean
water efficiently. It is damaging the health and lives of thousands of people,
and children will grow up with many health problems because of it. Something
needs to be done soon to fix this issue because it cannot go on much longer.
Awareness needs to be continually brought to light over this topic until Flint
has clean water again. State and local officials should be doing anything and
everything that they can to find some sort of resolution to enable Flint
residents to have clean water again. 

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