The president drank filtered Flint water for the press after I asked him if it was local water. pic.twitter.com/z33ksET6ao— David Nakamura (@DavidNakamura) May 4, 2016
President Obama finally visited Flint, Michigan, months after the city began a horrific water crisis with lead-contaminated pipes that led to lead-poisoned children.
Obama declared a state of emergency in January and provided federal aid to the poverty-stricken city in order to combat the crisis; Flint has been working to fix the system, and in the meantime, switched to receiving water from Detroit’s water plant.
During a meeting with local Flint officials, Obama drank a glass of Flint water to “bolster public confidence” in the steps taken by local and state leadership to address the situation; however, the true state of Flint’s water was evidenced by the fact that a filter was necessary in order for it to be drinkable.
According to the Washington Post, Obama specifically stated that Flint water was fine only if filtered: “It confirms what we know scientifically that if you use a filter ... then Flint water at this point is drinkable. That does not negate the need to replace some of those pipes, because ultimately we want a system where you don't have to put a filter on it.”
This demonstrates the reality of the circumstances people in Flint face—in a city that has a 40 percent rate of poverty, many homes cannot afford filters, nor should they have to. This also affects other daily activities that require water, such as cooking and bathing.
Obama claimed that the filtered water was safe for all children six years and older, but still pushed parents to get blood tests for children who have drank Flint water since April 2014.
He noted that the end goal was to make sure that “the people of Flint are healthy, that they've got safe water to drink and to use, [and] that we are ensuring that we have a plan for this system to work over the long-term."
Unfortunately, a plan for the long-term could be years away—and the people of Flint are still suffering today.
Banner Image Credit: Twitter, Ryan Garza