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Why the Flint Water Crisis Should Concern You

By James Hoyle
On February 24, 2016

    While all of us were distracted by one event or another, there was danger growing within a town in Michigan. It began two years ago, and came to a head recently. The city changed its water source from the Detroit Water and Sewage System to a new source from Lake Huron known as the Karegnondi Water Authority. However, the pipeline to this new source had not yet been completed, and the city council decided to draw potable water from the Flint River until the pipeline’s completion, which is scheduled for this year. Unfortunately, the water coming from the Flint River is not treated properly. As Flint had been getting its water from Detroit since 1967, the city had stopped treating its own water. By drawing on the river, it essentially was giving its citizens contaminated water to drink. Citizens were rightly worried, as analysis of the water, obtained by CNN, noted an extraordinarily high amount of lead coming from the water taken from the Flint River. Complaints about the water were made as early as 2014. However, it took a class action lawsuit by four families filed in November of 2015 for any action to happen. As a result, Michigan’s governor, Rick Snyder, declared a state of emergency, and Flint has since switched getting back to getting its water from Detroit until the new pipeline to Lake Huron is completed.

    However, these actions are both far too little and far too late. The contaminated water flowed into the homes of tax paying American citizens for over a year, and it took a lawsuit for the city to do anything about it. Such inaction is frankly sick and twisted. No one, especially in the United States of America, should be without a source of clean drinking water. When cutting corners to fit the need of a budget gets in the way of the safety and well-being of citizens, then perhaps a reexamination of priorities is in order.

Though this happened in Michigan, it is not an isolated case of neglect and oversight on the part of local politicians. After the story of Flint became public knowledge, the town of St. Joseph, Louisiana came  forward and showed that due to their aging water system, their water is just as bad as Flint. This only further cements the problems of negligence seen in the political system many find themselves in now.

    It is not even a matter of political parties, either. There is plenty of blame to go around that both parties should feel ashamed of themselves that they allowed the water situation to get as bad as it has in both Flint and in St. Joseph. Both incidences should serve as warnings to the rest of America. Such acts can happen anywhere and at any time and at an astonishing rate if the population is docile enough and apathetic enough to not pay attention to their surroundings.

    For all of that however, there is fortunately a way to reverse these problems. The situation in Flint is a result of a failure to listen on the parts of the politicians whose job it is to have the best interests of the people they represent. The United States of America is a republic. We as citizens have the right to demonstrate our dislike by voting out those that cannot or will not listen to our problems. The final verdict on where this country goes rests on the shoulders of the people. Therefore, we should remain vigilant, and always be on the lookout for corruption in who represents us, and weed it out where we can. After all, this country deserves nothing but the best.

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