The Flint water crisis deepens, and the lives of those living in the city are faced with the tainted water not only becoming a health risk, but they have been warned if they don’t continue to pay the city government for the poisonous water, they risk losing custody of their children. The Free Thought Project reported that not only are Flint residents subjected living with poisoned water, but if they are delinquent paying their water bills or mortgage, they could lose custody of their children.
The problem in Flint is the lack of taking responsibility for the problem; the government is clearly responsible for the toxic lead levels and other harmful substances. To this day, the government has refused to assume all responsibility for the unusable water, leading to the residents of Flint feeling hopeless they will ever fix the problem.
Michigan law states that if you do not provide your child with “running water,” you are guilty of neglect, and risk social services intervening to remove your children from your care. Even though the water crisis has made it impossible to have usable running water, the Flint government has enforced the law by threatening to remove children whose parents are delinquent in paying the water bill.
The Flint residents have fought back and filed two lawsuits against the government requesting all water bills dating back to April of 2014 be wiped clean as the water has been toxic since last year. The Flint residents feel they should not have been charged for water they just cannot use due to the toxicity levels. Many residents believe the act in itself is downright criminal and want the government to be held accountable for their actions.
The Guardian noted the real issue is not the water being toxic; it is the government’s lack of concern for Flint’s residents, implying Flint’s city officials are reckless with their resident’s health because they are mostly poor (56 percent of the city). Many journalists over the past few weeks have suggested that if the official had to live with the same water, and were forced to bathe in it or use it for cooking–they would change their tune pretty quickly. The fact that the poor are affected by it makes it much less of a priority to them.
The Flint water crisis is not an easy problem to fix either. In a perfect world, it could take up to 15 years and $60 million to repair the water contamination, and the residents have to live in their homes during the repair process, without sufficient water. It seems like a very long time to go without usable running water–that’s assuming the government is working on resolving the water contamination issue.
The Flint water crisis responsibility lies in the hands of the government and now they have trapped the residents to live there without running water. The lawmakers has stated it is illegal for the homeowners to sell their homes because the water is contaminated and not safe for human consumption. The government made it known that if the residents are delinquent on their water bills, they could be referred to social services if their tainted water is shut off. According to the law, it is considered neglect not to have running water.
Erin Brockovich stated that it is incredibly sad at the level the government has stooped to threaten to remove children from home that has been tagged as not having running water. Erin has been vocal about the Flint water crisis, and hopes to be able to come up with a solution for water contaimination that will appease both sides- the Flint residents and the city.
If you told someone that you had to pay for water that you cannot touch much less use in any way, and if you didn’t you risked losing custody of your children, they would think you have lost your mind. The sad truth is, this is the reality that Flint residents are living right now, and they still have no clue when they will have running (usable) water in their homes.
[Image Via Facebook, AP Photo/Paul Sancya]