Flint Michigan was long known for its Automobile industry as the homeland of General Motors. Flint at the time had a booming economy and was home to 200,000 citizens. (Clark, Anna) Before the Flint Water crisis happened the Flint river was used as a dumping site for many of the nearby factories and mills. The river was known as a polluted source of water. For decades Flint Michigan acquired their water from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.(Clark, Anna).”Flint, Michigan has struggled economically for decades, beginning with an economic depression in the late 1980s when several General Motors factories closed-and thousands of people were put out of work.”(Alyssa Pascoe) In careless effort to save money in 2013 the decision was made to abandon the treated and safe Detroit water supply for a lazy temporary fix.
The Flint water crisis began on April 25th 2014 when the city decided to switch their water supply from the long time system of Detroit to their own water system stemming from the murky coli filled Flint River. This decision was made as a temporary solution till the city could make the switch to Lake Huron as its new source of water. When making this decision there was a clear lack of judgement.The water from the Flint river was polluted and it went into the water main and the lead pipes of the city before it could be treated for corrosiveness. This water should have been treated at a water treatment plant before it was ever introduced to the lead pipes. The other problem is that the lead pipes should have been replaced before anything happened at all. This corrosive polluted water mixed with the lead pipes in Flint and led quite literally to a contamination crisis. “The Flint mayor declared a state of emergency on December 14, 2015, followed by the governor of Michigan declaring a state of emergency for Genesee County on January 5, 2016.President Obama is-sued an emergency declaration on January 16, 2016” (Ruckart) Both the governor of Michigan and President Obama failed to react to this crisis on time. The Flint crisis is riddled with government failure.
In Flint Michigan there was a failure of Justice and Equity.There have been many instances when the leaders of Flint were accused of being racist. Many see the flint water crisis as an attack on the poor of Flint as well as an assault on their largely African American population. Flints population is 57% African American, with 41% of the population living below the poverty line.(Alyssa Pascoe) people believe that racial systemic inequities are to blame for the horrible crisis “also places where residents are not given meaningful say in the decisions that affect their communities and quality of life, where their concerns about pollution and the health impacts are minimized, discounted or dismissed, and where residents are treated disrespectfully and shown they have little influence or clout.”(Alyssa Pascoe) The people living in Flint had no say at all about their water being switched to the highly polluted and toxic Flint water. Poor people use and drink tap water far more often than the rich and middle class. Many poor citizens can not afford to constantly drink bottled spring water from the store. Flints poorest citizens were forced into drinking water that could easily kill them or give them long term health problems. “Flint residents not only live in high poverty-neighborhoods, but Flint is one of only two cities in the entire country with city-wide levels of concentrated poverty.”(Structural Racism) In these concentrated poor neighborhoods 75% of them are African American. (Structural Racism) Every citizen of all towns and cities must have their voices heard. If their voices were heard. this kind of crisis would not happen. Hardly anyone that looked at the Flint river water would even think about drinking it. Now think about that disgusting diseased water being pumped into corroded lead pipes without treatment. I personally see this as an attack on human lives. There was no true justice. During my interview I asked a local water assistant superintendent whether or not he was aware of any inequality or discrimination at his workplace and he replied with “No I have not at all. We have a very diverse staff and we just all get along at work. All of our customers are great too.” I wish this were the case everywhere in the country. People living in highly concentrated areas of poverty have far less advantages in life. There are less grocery stores and hospitals in these areas. This makes it harder for kids and adults that were affected by Flint water to be treated in the short term or long term for lead poisoning and other dangerous health issues. “For a community with every disadvantage and obstacle to success, children suffering from lead poisoning can be expected to grow up with additional intellectual and behavioral problems. “(Structural Racism) There is substantial evidence that poor people were far more impacted by the Flint crisis and that is a prime example of inequity.