Water that Kills

Rachel Kim, Editor-in-Chief

    Would one ever want to drink contaminated water? For almost two years there has been a water crisis in Flint, Michigan, where high levels of lead have drained into water pipes and contaminated the water of Michigan. The University of Michigan-Flint found high levels of lead on their campus’s water source in January 2015. The levels of the metal measured in the city’s drinking water rose above the gateway for hazardous waste. Even after two years, the lead levels remain threateningly high.

    CNN stated that President Obama declared a federal state of emergency for Flint on January 16th.

   Flint has used water from the Flint River since April 2014. It used to rely on Detroit’s water source, however, due to the high cost of the water way, Flint began to rely on their own river, which is polluted by dirt, sewages, and years of industrial discharge. Flint, Michigan is about 65 miles north of Detroit. The city is not very wealthy with about 39 percent living in poverty.

   Since using the river, thousands of children in Michigan have been exposed to dangerous amount of lead from the drinking water flowing throughout the pipes of households and water stations in Flint. Ashley Kang (10) was shocked in hearing this and said, “It is absolutely horrible that these kids have to drink out of the toxic water.” The Los Angeles Times said that officials discovered “[Flint’s] water has lead levels of 104 parts per billion… [It] can cause permanent damage to young children’s development and lead to lower IQs.”

  By August 2014, further discovery of E. Coli in the water led to warnings to the citizens to boil their water. The Flint River water is difficult to purify because of its high levels of chlorine in it. Flint residents have repeatedly complained about the discoloring in the water which has made a handful of people sick. The pipes turn brown from releasing iron but is not dangerous. What’s dangerous is the “river itself that contain[s] eight times more chloride than Detroit’s water, a chemical that is highly corrosive to metals” as said in Time Magazine.

   These events have made Sebastian Bonilla (10) realize that “we really can’t take anything for granted and should be grateful for everything we have.” Bonilla also said, “Water is so important for people to live and for the people of Flint to not have that vital element is sad.”

   Although the state has helped the unlucky city switch back to Detroit’s water in October, there is still some danger that remains because of the harm the Flint River did to the water distribution system.