Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017, marked the 1,299th day citizens of Flint, Michigan, suffered under a water crisis. They haven’t been able to consume drinking water for such a prolonged duration that most of them have resorted to using bottled water permanently, thinking the problem won’t ever come to an end.
What makes the situation even gloomier is the government’s attitude toward this massive problem.
An advisory committee, appointed by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder to address public health concerns related to the lead-contaminated water calamity, canceled a fourth consecutive meeting — because it believes there is nothing to discuss.
Flint, with a population of about 100,000, was under control of a state-appointed emergency manager in 2014 when it switched its water source from Detroit's municipal system to the Flint River to save money.
The city switched back last October.
The river water was more corrosive than the Detroit systems, and caused more lead to leach from its aging pipes. According to The New York Times, the cost of replacing the pipes could be an enormous $1.5 billion, however, that is Flint’s only long-term solution.
Lead can be toxic, and children are especially vulnerable. The crisis has prompted lawsuits by parents who say their children have shown dangerously high levels of lead in their blood.
But for adamant government officials, this is not a problem worth discussing.
Members of the Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee (FWICC) reportedly received an email notice that said the Nov. 17 meeting “has been canceled due to no agenda items being received from FWICC members as of [Monday, Nov. 13].”
Stacie Clayton, who works in the Michigan Office of Urban and Metropolitan Initiatives, sent out the email. Harvey Hollins, the directory of the Michigan Office of Urban and Metropolitan Initiatives, chairs the FWICC.
A September meeting was also cancelled owing to scheduling conflict, according to the governor’s office, and the committee’s business was supposed to be carried over to the next meeting.
But the October meeting also never took place.
The committee reportedly met just twice to solve Flint’s contaminated water problem. This lack of urgency will only make the situation even worse.
Thumbnail Credits: Reuters, Rebecca Cook