A child goes to the school water fountain to get a drink of water. A mother uses tap water as she is making food for her family. We all use water in our daily lives, but not much thought goes into what is in our water. However, for individuals in Flint, Michigan, the last several years they have gone beyond noticing what is in their water, they filed a law suit against the state of Michigan due to water poisoning.
CNN reporters Sara Ganim and Linh Tran report about the how tap water became toxic in Flint, Michigan as a result of state government actions. In efforts to reduce the costs associated with water supply for the city of Flint, the state of Michigan switched the Flint water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River. The Flint River was known to be full of filth, however that did not stop this switch, a switch that was supposed to be temporary until a new state-run supply to Lake Huron was connected. The water that residents of the City of Flint were using had a particular brown color and tasted badly, overall, the water looked dirty. The taste and appearance of the water supply was only the beginning; children began experiencing sickness and high levels of lead in their blood. Such were the health issues that community members took matters into their own hands and filed a lawsuit against the local office and City of Flint.
The effects of dirty water full of lead and other substances resulted in the State of Michigan declaring Flint to a state of public health emergency. This state of emergency has led families and individuals to not be able to use tap water without certified filters. While this issue is now being worked on, it took several years of public officials to take this issue seriously, rather than just dismissing it.
This issue raises the following question: how much effect does water poisoning have to have in order for city officials to care enough to take action? Clearly, the answer here was that it had to be affecting children, not only affecting, but there had to be data that supported these claims. What makes us care about something? What draws the line between listening and taking action? For this issue of a basic necessity such as water it took several years. When the community of Flint stood up for what they cared for, they saw a result; they got public officials to actually care about this issue as well.