Flint City Water Tragedy
MICHIGAN — July 13, 2018
Is this possible to permit water crisis in the city, located no further than 70 miles from the region of the Great Lakes, one of the biggest sources of fresh water in the world? Yes and the example of it – is the city of Flint, Michigan, where such crisis erupted 4 years ago. And it’s still on.
The water contamination started, when Flint changed its water supply source from Lake Huron and Detroit River to the Flint River, well-known by the locals for the filth. Not a wonder, the city soon encountered serious problems with the quality of drinking water. Heavy metal neurotoxin level had risen dramatically, leading to almost inevitable public health danger. For instance, up to 12 thousand children of the city might have drunk this water and would have problems in future, related to the accident. By now, the estimated number of children with elevated blood-lead levels has grown to as much as 5 %, despite it was only 2.5 % in 2013.
City officials didn’t want to recognize a problem for a long time. For example, back on January 12, 2015, they decided not to reconnect the water-supply system of the city to Lake Huron: like it was before the accident. Nowadays, after a number of judgments made, the officials have to admit they simply don’t know how to solve this issue. And the true indication this issue has gone all-American, rather than just a state level one, is the quote made by Californian billionaire and entrepreneur Elon Mask on Twitter:
"Please consider this a commitment that I will fund fixing the water in any house in Flint that has water contamination above FDA levels. No kidding."
The reason for a change of water-supply source was, as usual, money-motivated: Flint officials claimed they’d save no less than 5 million dollars in two years, if the city started to get water from the local source, and not from Lake Huron. However this plan didn’t have any success, and local government lost about 4 million dollars yet back in 2014, due to the reconstruction of the whole system.
Since neither local, nor federal government couldn’t do anything on this issue, the community took all their responsibilities and started working. Anna Clark, the author of the book “The Poisoned City. Flint's Water and the American Urban Tragedy” states:
«While there is moral cowardice in the story of Flint, there is also heroism. It’s found most especially in the lionhearted residents who chose, again and again, to act rather than be acted upon. They turned themselves into top-notch community organizers and citizen scientists, and they built relationships with a diverse ensemble of professionals—including journalists in Detroit and Ann Arbor, a regulations manager at the Environmental Protection Agency in Chicago, an engineer who was working from her suburban home, a pediatrician at a local hospital, and a team of scientists and civil engineers all the way down in rural Virginia—to make themselves visible».
This shows the importance of communities, their opinions and the actions they undertake. The will of the people might be stronger and more powerful, than inactivity of the officials, who only care about money and power. As a part of the society, professional unions have been trying to make positive change in the situation as well. The United Auto Workers union donated drinking water to Flint via a caravan of trucks to local food banks, and an AmeriCorps team announced that it would deploy to Flint to assist in response efforts.
The tragedy of the city of Flint is still on its way, since the issue hasn’t been solved yet. And since in modern days America money often decides more, than the will of ordinary people, such situations, unfortunately, still may happen in near future.
The society – is the only hope for America’s better future.