Today • • 22 June

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Effects of Unclean Water: The Flint Water Crisis

The detrimental effects of unclean water in a modern city

The Flint Water Crisis began on 25 April 2014, when the city of Flint, Michigan began switching their water source, taking water from the Flint River without treating it properly. The switch altered the lives of more than 100,000, the effects lasting even up till today. 

7 years ago, the city’s water service changed from the nearby Detroit’s system to the local Flint River in a bid to save money. But Flint failed to properly treat the water from the river, and dangerous levels of lead leached from old pipes. 

The decision to switch had started a public health crisis that has endangered thousands of residents, especially young children – many of whom grew up drinking bottled water for long periods of time. Some still do. Skepticism persists when it comes to the drinking water quality. The local government has lost the trust of its people, with many shifting the blames and questioning the way the crisis unfolded. For the Flint water crisis, loss of trust is its legacy. 

For many residents, it started when they noticed the difference in water that streamed from their taps and faucets. Yellow, cloudy, brown water.

In the Autumn of 2014, residents washed their vegetables with poisoned water. People brushed their teeth and carried out their daily needs with the contaminated water. Children drank lead-contaminated water at school fountains in 2015 while babies drank lead in their formula. 

“The water crisis is a crime scene. There are victims and there are villains.”

Dr Mona Hanna-Attisha, a doctor at one of Flint’s public hospitals.

The water crisis damaged hundreds of millions of dollars of infrastructure, caused deadly bacterial outbreaks that killed at least 12 people and exposed thousands of children to high levels of lead in their drinking water. 

The American city failed to provide the basic necessity to its children. 

The detrimental effects of the contaminated, dirty water is clear as day. The people had water, but it was killing them slowly. More than that, they were paying for unclean, contaminated water. And for some, the cost of the bills grew larger than they could handle. 

The Flint water crisis is a reflection of a city being denied the most important essential of life – water. How unclean water tore the city apart gradually. Water builds cities. Water is essential to life. And yet for some, water ends their life. 

For most of us, we might take clean water for granted – we neglect the fact that there are millions in the world who are not as fortunate as us, those who do not have that crucial access to clean water to survive. 

The Flint water crisis is a clear example of how dirty water affects us all. There are millions of other people still fighting this battle – having no access to clean water. You can play a part in changing the lives of so many people around the world by providing them with a clean, reliable water source. Support these communities in dire conditions by contributing to our Care for Clean Water projects. 

Give Water, Give Life.