Flint’s water crisis still isn’t solved, government failing

The Channels Opinion Pages | STAFF COLUMN

Gia Opsahl, Staff Writer

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Thomas Jefferson famously believed “the first duty of government is the protection of life, not its destruction. Abandon that, and you have abandoned all.”

He would be deeply saddened by how untrue that is in our government today.

Beginning in 2014, Flint, Michigan’s water supply was destroyed with destructive contaminants, such as lead, E. coli and various bacteria. Flint city officials denied that the water had been contaminated for over a year, but later admitted the water was far from safe in September of 2015. Flint still does not have a solution to its contaminated water five years later.

It is enraging that the government still hasn’t made any progress in finding justice for the 100,000 residents of Flint. Instead, Jaden and Will Smith took the time, effort and money to donate water to the community from their self-made water company, JUST.

When I read this online, my heart nearly skipped a beat. Why are celebrities fixing a problem that our government should be solving?

Government authorities deceived the community of Flint and clearly had no respect for their lives. The lack of treatment by the government to help prevent further damage is the most disturbing part. This lead to bacteria in pipes growing, leaving the residents of Flint full of desperation and hopelessness.

According to Virginia Tech Researches, the highest concentration of lead tested in Flint water was a shocking amount of 13,000 parts per billion, but no more than 15 parts per billion is considered safe to drink.

If it wasn’t for the Smiths, Flint residents would be much worse off.

JUST is an eco-friendly water company and paper-based bottle founded by the Smiths. They founded JUST in 2015 to provide a strictly green alternative to plastic bottles and to successfully invest in communities.

The Smith’s donated 9,200 bottles of water to Flint in 2018, and continued to do so each month until the high lead levels in public schools water decreased below the federal standard.

On March 7 of this year, the Smiths donated the first “Water Box” to Flint at the First Trinity Missionary Baptist Church. The church is said to have donated up to 5 million water bottles to the community, but unfortunately as time passed, donations decreased.

The “Water Box” is a filtered water system that will strongly reduce lead and other potential dangerous contaminations. This system will be able to produce up to 10 gallons of clean water per minute, and is tested everyday in addition to being tested every few weeks by an independent, certified laboratory.

Nikitah Fisher, a Flint resident, said in a statement that she was blown away by the donation because the people of Flint were beginning to “get used to having no clean water.”

This statement alone speaks volumes.

The reason for the water replacement was a cost-cutting measure by the government that did nothing but destroy the lives and homes for the people of Flint.

How are we supposed to trust our government when celebrities are doing more for the Flint crisis than they are?   

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