AFRICANGLOBE – As the water crisis in Flint deepens, it is becoming apparent that the effects of the lead-infested water are not just a health hazard, but the situation has the potential of ruining many more lives outside of the poison issue. There is no denying that the water in Flint is undrinkable and that it is contaminated with lead and other substances, and it is clear that the government of Flint is responsible for the problem.
However, the city’s government continues to charge people for the poison water and then threatening to foreclose their home or take their children if they refuse to pay. Michigan law states that parents are neglectful if they do not have running water in their home, and if they chose not to pay for water they can’t drink anyway, then they could be guilty of child endangerment. Activists in Flint say that some residents have already received similar threats from the government if they refuse to pay their bills.
Flint residents have recently filed two class action lawsuits calling for all water bills since April of 2014 to be considered null and void because of the fact that the water was poisonous.
“We are seeking for the court to declare that all the bills that have been issued for usage of water invalid because the water has not been fit for its intended purpose,” said Trachelle Young, one of the attorneys bringing the lawsuit said in court.
“Essentially, the residents have been getting billed for water that they cannot use. Because of that, we do not feel that is a fair way to treat the residents,” Young added.
Recent estimates have indicated that it could take up to 15 years and over $60 million to fix the problem, and the residents will be essentially forced to live there until the problem is solved. Despite the fact that the issue is obviously the government’s responsibility, they have made it illegal for people to sell their homes because of the fact that they are known to carry contaminated water. Meanwhile, residents are still left to purchase bottled water on their own, in addition to paying their water bill.
Although this problem is finally getting national media attention in Flint, they aren’t the only city with contaminated water supplies. In fact, a recent report published by The Guardian showed that public water supplies across the country were experiencing similar issues.
This crisis highlights the many dangers of allowing the government to maintain a monopoly on the water supply and calls attention to the fact that decentralized solutions to water distribution should be a goal that we start working towards.
By: John Vibes