Fenton InPrint Online

Flint has been at a clean water deficit for five years

Andrea Elsholz, Features Editor

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The Flint General Motors Truck Assembly plant stopped using Flint tap water when it started corroding engine parts. But it was also corroding the lead pipes that brought water to the city. On April 24, 2014, one metal transformed Flint. Five years later the people of Flint find they still lack a necessity—clean water.

Senior Eibhen Macintyre:

“Just waking up every day and brushing my teeth with a water bottle. Cooking with bottled water sucks. We can’t use it to wash our clothes or bodies because there’s not enough. We were actually one of the fortunate people who had water stocked up. We would leave cases on our front porch and curbside so people could get it. It just breaks my heart every time I think about it. Seeing all those plastic bottles stacked up in our kitchen is a constant reminder. People give me a lot of crap because I shouldn’t be using all this plastic for bottled water but I don’t have a choice. It’s been swept under the rug; it’s only gotten worse. They stopped the water pods and it’s been affecting my family money-wise because of the bills, which in Flint are actually some of the highest in Michigan. It’s ridiculous; you can’t even use it. Every couple of months we have to go and get our lead levels checked to make sure we don’t have lead poisoning, which is a constant thought looming over. When everything first started we were given filters. They got rid of the bacteria, but didn’t get rid oflead which is the biggest problem. People initially thought ‘you can just boil your water,’ but the lead would actually become more concentrated. This is so emotional for me. I will never forgive Governor Snyder. He has killed and hurt so many families, so many people with hearts and brains and feelings and souls; their lives will never be the same.”

 

Sophomore Abbey Banks:

At FSPA (Flint School of Performing Arts) they would put yellow tape, like police tape, over the water fountains. They would have these big jugs of water and these plastic water bottles everywhere. Now, there are signs by the water fountain saying it’s clean, but I guess deep down a part of me could have lost trust in the water. I’m used to people saying don’t drink the water, so I just buy a drink. They did provide free water when it got bad, but now if people don’t have money they have to drink from the fountain.”

 

Teacher Matthew Sullivan:

Good leaders have the ability to get the best out of the people they’re leading. I think that Flint was not a case where they didn’t get the best out of people, but it was a case of leaders letting people down. From what I know they chose not to act on it. I think there’s a definite loss of trust between the people of Flint and their leaders, which to me is most damaging and disgraceful because the people of Flint chose them to lead and they failed them, and ruined lives doing it. I think the community has to come together and find new leaders or step into that leadership role themselves. It’s really scary to think that happened just 10 miles away from us. It makes you feel fortunate that we have our own water supply but most importantly that we have strong leaders that wouldn’t put our lives in jeopardy.”

 

Teacher Brian Murphy:

A bond needs trust, honesty, loyalty. But the bond is fragile. We put people in office because we believe in them to do right by us and change things for better in the city.The big idea is water: clean drinking water, which is essential for all life. If that’s run by the government they need to maintain this need for the people. The people of Flint were undermined by the government. I knew they were giving them filters, which to me seems like a temporary fix. What they really need to do is to redo the pipes. But where will they get the funding for that? In an impoverished city it can be very difficult. I think overall the people of Flint have been hurt. We need to be able to confide in our government. The bond between people of Flint and their government has been severed and they need to cooperate and communicate to fix it.”

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