1.Flint, Michigan Water Crisis
Flint, Michigan, home to a large population of African Americans, has been declared in a state of emergency. Over half of residents that live in Flint, live below the poverty line (CNN). They have been suffering with lead and sewage spills since the implementation on a new pipeline.
The Flint Water Crisis began in 2014 when Flint River became the primary water source for the city. The serious transition from the water source Lake Huron to Flint River created a serious health danger when bacterium such as e coli in water has tested positive, which later elevated levels of lead found in the water (CNN) . It has affected residents substantially by denying them access to basic human needs .
This water crisis has gotten attention from celebrities across the spectrum as well as political responses . This topic sparked my interest because of my passion towards social justice within minority communities.This issue is an environmental issue as much as it is a socio-political issue. It has had effects not only on society, but also economy and health .The crisis is a result to how systemic and institutional racism creates these conditions.I want to look at what is being done by both the EPA and Trump Administration, and lastly to remedy what are some solutions proposed.
The concentration of lead in the water has been found to have serious health impacts on children since they are still in the process of developing.This contamination could lead to long lasting and chronic health problems,and since children are most susceptible to these toxins they are most likely to suffer (Kids Health). Lead poisoning can cause damage to the nervous system, development delay, decreased bone and muscle growth, and behavioral issues (Kids Health).
On the other hand, adults have been suffering from rashes and even death in result of the Legionnaires outbreak (NYT, Associated Press).Legionnaires disease is a severe form of pneumonia-lung inflammation caused by infection or bacteria (Mayo Clinic). Those who suffer from legionnaires disease and keep it untreated usually result in fatality.
There are a number of lawsuits that have been filed against the EPA and governor of Flint, Rick Snyder by the residents of Flint.In The New York Times article, “ EPA Aims to End Trump’s Freeze”, Timothy Gardner mentions, “three state of emergencies have been issued and a lawsuit which was filed in U.S District court in Michigan which asserted that “the EPA failed to warn residents of Flint the dangers of the toxic water or take steps to ensure that state and local authorities were addressing the crisis”. This case involves failure of the government to protect the health and safety of the public which has caused the people of Flint to be concerned on whether there would be delays on further action towards the clean up.
Dan Whitcomb, author of the Reuters article published by The New York Times, “1,700 Residents of Flint, Michigan Sue EPA Over Water Crisis”, adds that “four former officials were charged with conspiring to violate safety rules bringing to 13 the number of current and former officials charged with connection to the crisis”. There is word the transition of water sources were Rick Syder’s solution to “save money”, in result, this is causing the city to have over 1,700 residents seeking class action for their claims and also making the clean up cost billions of more dollars than originally (Gardner). With a large amount of former officials being criminally charged, I plan to dig deeper into finding more information on what is being done about these lawsuits in addition to finding possible solutions.
In the New York Times Article “ EPA Aims to End Trump’s Freeze”, Gardner states that the Trump administration asked the EPA to temporarily freeze grants, contracts regarding the cleaning up of Flint, Michigan. If this were a city where it was primarily whites I am more than sure that they would attempt to quickly figure out a solution .The fragment of segregation and discrimination that still exists in Flint must have made it a unique target. Residents have lost hope in not only the future of their city but also feeling neglected by their government. No matter how much protest and lawsuits are implemented justice is far from being served. My goal is to spread awareness to my peers while learning myself, to find possible solutions and what we can do to help this ongoing crisis.
CNN. Cable News Network, n.d. http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/04/us/flint-water-crisis-fast-facts/ . Web. 19 Feb. 2017.
Gardner, Timothy . “EPA Aims to End Trump’s Freeze.” Https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2017/01/26/us/politics/26reuters-usa-epa-freeze.html. Reuters/ NY Times , 26 Jan. 2017. Web. 7 Feb. 2017.
Mayo Clinic Staff Print. “Legionnaires’ disease.” Mayo Clinic. N.p., 24 Sept. 2016. Web. 06 Mar. 2017.
“Lead Poisoning.” KidsHealth. Ed. Shayan T. Vyas. The Nemours Foundation, Feb. 2015. Web. 06 Mar. 2017.
The Associated Press. “Commission: ‘Systemic racism’ at root of Flint water crisis.” N.p., 17 Feb. 2017. Web. 23 Feb. 2017.
Whitcomb, Dan. “1,700 residents of Flint, Michigan sue EPA over water crisis .” Reuters/ NY Times , 31 Jan. 2017. Web. 7 Feb. 2017.