Why Flint, Michigan Is Still An Issue

Although Flint’s water crisis began in 2014, the issue is rooted in many other existing problems within the city; these issues collectively built up to perpetuate the city’s water issue. In 2016, a couple of years after the water crisis was addressed, the town was sued by a group of citizens and organizations. The town’s mayor then claimed the water crisis was solved in April 2018. This meant that there would no longer be the distribution of water bottles because the lead levels were below the level where action would be needed. Recent action by Will and Jaden Smith begins to question whether the water crisis in Flint is fully solved. 



Flint was plagued by an economic crisis following the collapse of the car industry, and the city soon fell under the control of the state. The downfall forced the city to rethink certain expenses, and officials decided to change water sources for the city. The Flint River had always been an option for the city to use and the switch would cut costs. The state also decided to stop pipe treating water for its citizens. 



In 2014, the city of Flint changed water sources. The Flint River would now supply the citizens of Flint with water, however, that river was used as a disposal site in previous years. After the city decided to use the river as a water source, officials also decided to cut back on water testing. The citizens began to notice things such as dry skin and hair loss. People also began to notice the water smelling horribly along with discoloration.



The city was thrown into an all-out controversial dispute about the status of the water. After testing, it was found that the water’s lead levels were high above safe drinking levels. The mayor announced that water bottles would be supplied to residents, and this water would have to be enough for people to cook and drink, among other things. Although the mayor tried to help citizens by providing bottled water, the damage had already been done.


The switch in water sources resulted in 12 deaths and multiple residents becoming sick because of an outbreak of Legionnaires Disease. The outbreak took place between mid-2014 and late 2015. 


The city was sued in 2016 by a group of citizens and organizations. The lawsuit was rooted in the need for a resolution due to the damages done by the water crisis, and a judge sided with the residents. The decision resulted in a delivery service for fresh drinking water to home without a proper filtration system. 


The mayor of the city announced in April 2018 that the city would no longer be providing water bottles to residents as the lead levels had sufficiently declined and were now below what was deemed safe.


That should be it, right? Not exactly. 



Most recently, Jaden Smith, son of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith, decided to take the problem into his own hands. His family’s company, JUST Water, makes mobile water stations that will be able to supply Flint with fresh water. These Water Boxes have been put into place and will continue to be tested to ensure water quality in the future. This leaves people questioning why this is still needed if the problem was thought to be solved. 


Flint’s rocky past keeps the city under a watchful eye. We should take this as a learning opportunity to make sure people always have safe water and, if there is a problem, be sure to fix it as fast as possible. Flint’s water situation seems to have a bright outlook. Hopefully, it stays that way.