As the Democratic nomination hopefuls arrived in Flint, Michigan this Sunday, the city’s lead-poisoning crisis rumbled on. Flint has been at the centre of national attention ever since elevated levels of lead in the blood were discovered in some children two years ago.
The details were revealed against a backdrop of a state-imposed emergency manager switching the water supply from that coming from Detroit, to the nearby Flint River.
Flint, which has a population of around 100,000 residents, was using water from the river whilst waiting for the completion of a new pipeline to Lake Huron, only about an hour’s drive distant.
It was reported in order to save money, government regulators failed to enforce adequate filtering methods. Harmful levels of lead were found to have entered from the city’s pipe network into the general water supply.
Although Flint was reconnected to the mains supply last October, the advice remains to stick to bottled water. It’s a situation which has caused widespread disbelief, and considerable difficulty amidst the usual weather issues of this time of year.
It’s a situation some media outlets – as well as presidential hopefuls – have been keen to exploit. CNN established neighbourhood distribution of bottled water whilst reporting on the debate from Flint, with many of their ‘star’ personalities on hand to give out water to residents.
Calls for the resignation of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder have been legion, with Hillary Clinton getting in on the act after the results of Super Tuesday. She told a crowd that children were poisoned in Flint, just because the governor wanted “to save a little money. “
But numerous news sources have suggested the problem with water isn’t just restricted to Michigan. Website SeattlePi reports on a poll which suggests only about half of Americans are confident of a clean water supply coming from their taps, with only 47% saying they were very confident of the safety of the water.
Meanwhile, the LA Times reports on doubts surrounding California’s water supply, and the possibility of pollutants getting into resident’s taps. Water, it seems, is becoming a big issue for America as it approaches decision time for the next president.