For many families in Flint Michigan, their stream of water as well as their stream of happiness has been polluted with seemingly constant toxins and negativity. Will I ever be able to rely on my tap water again? Will I every be able to drink out of something other than bottles without worrying about the dangerous repercussions? Will my child be ok? Are questions that flow seamlessly through their minds every single day. Every single droplet of water, every single droplet used to cook and clean comes from plastic bottles.
“We bathe with filtered water,” Uhrek, who lives in Flint, Michigan, told ABC News. “We still don’t drink or cook,” non-bottled water.
The Flint Water Crisis, The Flint Water Crisis: A Tragedy, FLINT, MICHIGAN: THE CRISIS THAT SHOOK THE TOWN has been plastered across newspapers and flowing from radios for months. President Obama visited Flint to drink the water and approve the new filtering systems, and many celebrities have advocated for more attention to this issue. Several state officials who directly withheld information from the populace are facing criminal charges.
The issue was originally discovered after the city disconnected from Detroit’s water supply and switched to drawing water from the Flint River in April 2014. This transformation was regarded as a stop-gap measure until the pipeline to Port Huron Lake process had concluded. After a few weeks of the implementation, it was discovered that hazardous chemicals were seeping through the pipes and into the water. Even after many attempts to bring down the levels of unfiltered water had been put in place, the anti-corrosive chemicals were still unable to prevent further damage. Lead, the chemical that posed the most substantial issue, is particularly damaging to children whose brains are still developing.
The day to day damages have yet to be alleviated by state-wide measures, and the community has been brought closer together because of these issues. Uhrek, among many, is frustrated with the lack of government action, however, he also noted how “the community is pulling together” and that they’re “seeing actual change but it’s in the people,” Uhrek said. He ended on a positive note, saying that they’re “going to make it through.”
Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a local pediatrician, has been analyzing the varying degrees of lead contamination in the water and its effect on the cognitive progression in children. In her famous article that exposed the significantly higher lead levels in Flint children, said that, “This is unlike any other disaster…The impact of [this] disaster will last for decades and maybe generations. We have yet to garner the long-term [financial] help.” The most glaring problem will be finding the children who are in the most critical condition and treating them.
There has been little movement in Congress to alleviate some of the strain put on the town. However, a bipartisan bill has been proposed in the Senate that includes more than $200 million in federal funding to help children and others affected by the Flint water crisis, but currently there is no vote scheduled for the bill.
That’s not to say that there has been no change. The city has hired 10 additional school nurses and the state has passed a Medicaid waiver that will add an additional 15,000 kids to Medicaid so they can get better treatment. There is also temporary funding for a new “nutrition prescription” program in which kids can redeem $10 vouchers for healthy foods at a nearby farmer’s market, Hanna-Attisha said.
In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched a campaign to get residents to remove any hazardous particles that might still remain in their systems, Wells said.
Marc Edwards, a professor of civil engineering at Virginia Tech and founder of the Flint Water Study, said he was incredibly after seeing federal and state agencies working to fix the effects of the water crisis.
“I think that all parties at the table right now are really working at their best to get Flint back on its feet,” Edwards said. “Since January, people have been trying their very best to help with the situation.”