Seeds: In order to combat the city’s financial crisis, on April 25, 2014, the city of Flint, Michigan switched its water supply from the Detroit river to the Flint River. Officials grew suspicious when they examined the quality of the water in terms of its color, taste, and odor. After more research, they detected E. coli bacteria and began encouraging all residents to boil their water before ingesting it in September of the same year. Later that October, a General Motors plant within Flint stopped using the local water source, claiming that it damaged their car parts.
Core: Despite repeated evidence of dangerous contaminants in the city’s water source, Michigan’s state government refused to act in a public manner. The treatment plant did not add an anti-corrosive agent to the water, which resulted in the water wearing down the inside of the pipes, allowing iron and lead to enter the water system. Not only is the water offensive in both taste and odor, it also appears brown and is proved to be toxic. Officials insisted that the water was both safe and drinkable, claiming that the protesters in Flint, who were mostly made up of Democrats, were using the crisis as means to make the Republican-run state government look bad.
Skin: Mainstream news outlets started reporting about this crisis as late as the end of last month when President Obama declared a state of emergency in the city of Flint. Soon after, the Michigan House of Representatives approved spending $28 million in attempt to aid those in Flint.
Leaves: The Flint water crisis has drawn attention to the role how the race and economic standing of a city’s populace plays in its governance. Many have argued that the unwillingness of officials to react is a direct result of Flint being a majority black community with a low economic standing. People question whether the state officials would’ve reacted with more urgency if Flint's citizens were predominantly wealthy and white.
Food For Thought: Why do you think officials delayed reacting to the contaminated water in Flint? Do you think their reasoning could be related to the race or economic standing of the city? Tell us what you think.
Think we missed something? Tell us in the comments.