The city of Flint, Michigan has a population of 98,310, 41.2% of its residents are legally impoverished, the median household income is half that of the rest of Michigan, and it hasn’t had clean drinking water in three years.

This crisis has been on its way since the 1980s

The economic downfall of Flint began in the 1980s, when General Motors downsized and left a huge chunk of the city’s residents out of work. In 2011, the state of Michigan audited Flint, found a $25 million deficit, decided they weren’t responsible enough to run their finances on their own, and took over.

Then, despite noticing that Flint’s funding for its water supply was $9 million in the red, the Michigan financial team decided to use the money elsewhere and ignored the fact that the water supply would suffer because of it.

Flint switched water sources in 2014 to cut costs

Under this new financial control, as a means of cutting down spending on the water fund, Flint switched its water source in 2014 as they put into construction a new pipeline that would send water to the city from Lake Huron. In the meantime, a temporary system was put in place to give them water from Flint River while the two-year construction was underway.

However, Flint River is a contaminated water supply. The quality of the water is subpar, containing traces of “fecal coliform bacteria, low dissolved oxygen, plant nutrients, oils, and toxic substances.” Doesn’t sound like a Volvic advert, does it?

A grand total 134 polluted sites have been found in Flint River, such as landfills, pesticide- and fertiliser-infested farms, and industrial workplaces. And the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality aren’t even treating the water with an agent to remove these toxic substances, which breaks federal law.

Flint River water leading to health problems

Children exposed to the tainted elements of the water in Flint River such as lead are suffering from Health problems such as problems with their hearing, impaired cognition, delays in puberty, and behavioural disorders. It also reduces the growth of the foetus in pregnant women. There are also wider health problems with the kidneys, nerves, and heart, which affect everyone exposed to it.