Aarav Patel, Age 12

Michigan is paying for the Flint water crisis
   But not enough. If you rewind for about four years, you’ll remember the Flint water crisis. In 2014, the city of Flint, Michigan decided to transfer its water source from Lake Huron (about 70 miles away) to the Flint River, which passes through the city of Flint. It was cost-friendly at the time and was considered safe to drink when courses started to change.    Shortly after switching the water source, what happened to our grinder pump slowly started to happen with the water. The water slowly began to turn weird colors and smell. This wasn’t because of the river but of the pipes. You see after the water source was switched, the water pipes started to weather away and some of the lead fro the pipes leaked out into the water, which, you guessed it caused lead poisoning.     This mostly affected the 25,000 kids in the area(Flint, Michigan population: 96,000), who broke out in rashes as schools had to deal with more kids that had learning and behavioral issues. It took a year for the city to admit their issues, and thousand started the process of suing the state. Still, some of the pipes haven’t been fixed and bottled water is used in a lot of households for cooking, drinking, and bathing.    Still, the state of Michigan is only giving $600,000,000 to the 25,000 kids and adults who were poisoned by the water. Anyone who lived there between 2014  and 2016 is eligible to get the money, but to count all people living there now who would be getting the money instead of every person, because not everyone can get it. That might seem like a lot, but if you break it down, it’s nothing. If they were to only pay the kids, each kid would get about $24,000. If they paid all people in the city, each person would get about $6,250. However, that turns into nothing after medical bills are paid off. Any normal person would think that is enough would have no idea they’re being ripped off. This can be explained with three words: time, health, and taxes.   Think about it, if the crisis would have never happened, you could have easily spent thousands of hours of work using the same schedule as before because you wouldn’t have to spend time at the hospital or at your kid’s school to fill in IEP forms. You would also lose money from buying bottled water and other items and services to keep safe, which would also need you to spend more time at work. That would easily be 15-30k down the drain. Also, keep in mind that we are in the middle of the coronavirus, so nobody can really lose too much money.   Also, wouldn’t lead poisoning cause long-term health issues? It says in the article that lead can damage the developing brain and nervous system, which is obviously serious. They only gave enough to cover short-term, not long term medical bills related to the issue. For some, the money they got wasn’t even enough to cover short-term issues.  Plus, they’re paying you with your own money! How does anyone think that a state can just pull $600,000,000 out of their pocket and not feel financial pain? They would get their money from your taxes. They would raise it just to give you your money back. Even your income taxes off of the check would have income tax applied to it. Even so, Flint residents are unlikely to get any money before 2021 because both sides have to finish the agreement. So because of that, and the state of Michigan has more power, I wouldn’t be surprised if the total money handed out went down.   So honestly, I don’t trust Michigan at all to give Flint what they deserve. There is no way all medical bills are paid or if the state taxes there drop or if families get the money they lost during the crisis back. So I appreciate your effort, Lansing, but it won’t be enough.

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