If you’ve been following the Flint, Michigan water crisis in the news, then you know that things are looking pretty bleak right now for the already-struggling city. Flint is one of the poorest cities in America, with more than 41% of its residents living below the poverty level, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Its economy has been in a state of decline since the collapse of the city’s booming automobile industry in the mid-1980s, chronicled by Michael Moore in his contentious 1989 documentary, Roger & Me. Since 2014, the city has been dealing with the effects of another major blow, when it switched its water supply from the Detroit water system to the Flint River, failing to use corrosion controls and discovering dangerous levels of lead in the drinking water.
The issue has received a lot of press, both positive and negative, with some advocates using the water crisis as fuel for deeper political issues, claiming that residents of Flint, whose population is 57% black, are victims of “environmental racism.” Some celebrities, such as Jimmy Fallon and Cher, have donated money and water bottles to the city. Charities such as the United Way of Genesee County have rushed to the cause, and people from all around the country have stepped in to offer their support.
One example particularly worthy of mention took place at the beginning of February when 300 union plumbers from all over the state of Michigan convened in Flint to install water filters for free for the residents affected by the contaminated water. In addition to installing filters, some faucets had to be replaced entirely to fit the filters, but plumbers were willing to rise to the challenge. In total, the plumbers reached 1,100 homes in a day, using faucets donated from Plumbing Manufacturers International. According to ABC12, the faucets go for about $100 each, which is beyond what many residents can afford.
Some residents, who have been drinking the contaminated water for several years, fear that help came too late and the filters will not do much good because the damage has already been done. However, $28 million has already been donated from the state of Michigan, with more money pouring in every day from various sources. Plumbers from the United Association Local 370 have pledged to keep on volunteering and the agencies responsible for the contaminated water have promised not to abandon the city in its time of need.
It will take both time and money for the damages in Flint to be repaired, but the charitable contributions of people all around the world are certainly helping to expedite the process. Every person in the world, regardless of race or class, is entitled to clean, safe drinking water. A water filter will eliminate the harmful contaminants that can infiltrate water supplies, but not everyone is fortunate enough to have one. If you have the means, consider making a donation to the Flint Water Fund to bring clean water to the city!