Four years later and the water crisis in Flint, Michigan is far from over. What began in 2014 when the city “switched its water source from Detroit to the Flint River, as a cost-saving measure,” continues to be a problem for many residents.
The water, which was insufficiently treated, “leached lead from service lines and contaminated the city’s water, exposing 100,000 people,” AlterNet reported. On top of that disaster, there was an outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease killing at least 12 people, which resulted in felony charges brought against many state officials. While the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality insists the lead levels are within acceptable limits today, residents don’t trust using the water in their homes. And scientists back the residents’ suspicion saying “many of the lead service lines that originally contaminated the water supply are still in use, and will not be replaced until 2020,” AlterNet reported.
Residents of Flint, Michigan, describe the state of their water: pic.twitter.com/l6qFtIUSYV
— AlterNet (@AlterNet) September 13, 2018
“Ariana, your son, as someone who has lived this firsthand, seen it firsthand, how do you feel about the prosecutions, about accountability and whether anyone’s been held to account?” asked Hayes.
“Too long,” replied Hawk. “If this would have been a normal person on the street, they would have been tried by now, be in jail by now and have justice. For this to be going on for so long, it makes me angry. But the lawyers are sitting up, sucking up all this money that we are still suffering, our pipes are still not replaced. This is a problem.”
“People are watching this, there are some people watching this who kind of remember about the Flint water thing, and then maybe it’s drifted away from their mind, like, you’re living this every day,” Hayes continued. “What can you tell them about what the reality is here now four years later?”
“Four years later, my son, for example, we still can’t safely use our water, he can’t take a bath without telling me it burns,” Hawk replied. “His rashes are back. You know, things are not better. I’m still scared to use the water, I don’t want to let my younger kids use the water. I have an 11-year-old who’s facing memory loss. He’s 11, he can’t remember what happened yesterday. These are the reality of things happening to our babies right now.”
“Still, to this day.”