Flint, Michigan is an old city. It was once a place that built cars. That era is over. Now Flint is mostly poor and mostly black. The number of people living there is about half of what it was fifty years ago.
Fair enough. Life changes. There are many such cities in America.
The news is what happened when the city’s drinking water went terribly bad. The water contains lead. Lead in the water can lead to brain damage. It is unhealthy in many other ways including skin problems, high blood pressure, and anemia. It can also cause problems in learning and behavior.
Flint wanted cheaper water. It found cheaper water in the Flint River. That was the first bad idea. Then Flint wanted to save more money. Then came the second bad idea. Flint decided to save money by not treating the river water with the right chemicals.
Problems with lead in the water supply began to show up. A children’s doctor warned the authorities that there was too much lead in the water. They told her she was not testing the water correctly.
Local, state and even federal officials did not want to alarm people. They told the people of Flint not to worry. They suggested that people run their faucets for a while before drinking the water. More evidence of lead in the water began to come in.
All of a sudden it became clear to everyone that Flint’s water was tainted. Some local, state and federal officials resigned.
America did what it often does in such situations. It turned on its faucets of help. Water and suggested changes in the system are coming from everywhere. Medical help is on the way. Money is flowing in. There will be a new water supply.
The lead has caused a great deal of damage. However, the problem will be solved. That is the American way. There was not an ounce of prevention. The pound of cure is both generous and graciously given.
Source: The New York Times January 23, 2016