Institutional/Systematic Racism Tricks Us: Paying $200 for Toxic Water…That Predisposes Our Children To Prison
The water in Flint, Michigan, is so contaminated with lead it runs brown out of the tap, causes rashes on skin, and is making people’s hair fall out, but the city is still charging residents up to $200 a month in water bills for it.
According to a report from Mic, citizens are still receiving bills from the city for water that smells like sewage even on the few occasions it runs clear. Nisa Seal, a Flint resident, said she’s basically paying $110 a month just in order to be able to flush her toilet.
“This shit is criminal,” Kendrick Boyd, another resident, told Mic. “[Governor Snyder] deserves to go to prison for this.”
President Obama has declared a state of emergency in the city, freeing up $5 million in federal aid funds to help with the public health crisis which began when Flint changed its water source from Lake Huron to the Flint River to save money. Inadequate provisions were made to ensure the water was treated effectively with anti-corrosion chemicals, and lead leached from the city’s ancient pipes and fixtures, resulting in a water so polluted the Environmental Protection Agency deemed it “toxic waste.”
Citizens complained about the taste, odor, and color of the water immediately, but went unheeded by the local government for over a year. The city also dismissed reports about elevated lead levels in the blood of children. Lead exposure can cause a number of health problems, including brain damage. Approximately 87 cases of Legionnaire’s disease have also been reported since the water supply switch, including 10 deaths.
“It’s something they’ve known for two years,” said Boyd. “It’s not something they didn’t know. Before they switched our water back to Flint, the previous year they told us the river was condemned. Then they gave us the water to drink. So if this wasn’t a blatant or conscious decision, I don’t know what was.”
Governor Snyder finally admitted something was wrong in January, but has resisted calls for his resignation and arrest. In an interview with the National Journal, Snyder compared the crisis to Hurricane Katrina. This would be apt if not for the fact that, as pointed out by the Obama administration when it denied Snyder $96 million in FEMA funds, the public health emergency in Flint is not an environmental one. It is a man-made one.