March 6, 2016

Government Failed Flint and It’s Failing Us

Sophie Goldman ‘19

The government is responsible for the health of its people and must protect it to the best of its ability.
In April 2014, the city of Flint, Mich., began using water from the Flint River, rather than water purchased from Detroit, to save money. Flint had been under the control of the state due to an urgent financial situation when government officials appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder chose to use the Flint River. Regardless of who specifically chose to switch the water source, this decision led to disastrous conditions that will affect the people of Flint much more than any financial problems.
Soon after the switch, the people of Flint voiced concerns about the brown, foul-smelling water. For a year and a half, the citizens of Flint used this contaminated water. Meanwhile, government officials announced that it was safe for consumption, while ignoring the people’s many complaints. Finally, in October 2015, the government announced that the water was unsafe, but it was already too late.
The water from the Flint River contains high levels of lead, which leaches into the water from the pipes. Even a small amount of lead is toxic and prolonged exposure only exacerbates the problem.
Lead poisoning severely affects brain development in young children and can cause many other lifelong neurological issues. These problems are irreversible, yet they are entirely preventable and will persist throughout the lives of children with lead poisoning.
Although the water source has been switched, the water in Flint is still unusable. It has now been almost two years since this crisis began and no solution will be good enough to undo the damage that has occurred.
Government officials are responsible for protecting public health. They have been elected by the citizens and are expected to improve their lives, rather than damage them.
The effects of the crisis in Flint will continue to hurt its population for years to come. The government needs to be proactive in protecting the health of the people and water contamination is an unacceptable issue for our country today.
The children of Flint will grow up, but they will always feel the effects of lead poisoning. The government needs to place the health of our nation and our nation’s children first.
Flint is just one example of this problem, but it is occurring in many cities across the nation. We cannot allow the government to knowingly provide the people with contaminated water and should make sure our government takes responsibility for the health of the people and the future adults of America.

The government is responsible for the public health and must consider it as one of the most important factors in its decisions. Our country cannot make progress if the government does not supply the people with the resources they need for their health. The government needs to take responsibility now for the health of America and its future.


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