Water is a valuable resource that is required for human survival. It is important to note that there are various uses that not only people can derive from water resources but also living organisms also benefit from water. In a nutshell, water should be free of any pollutants that can make it challenging and also be demanding for the survival of plants. Water pollution and contamination has adverse effects that are detrimental to all dependant organisms of the water resource. Flint water crisis becomes an example of the practical challenges that once happened in a town called Flint in Michigan. The crisis was present in drinking water, and it started in the month of April in 2014. The crisis took place after there was a change of the water supply. Flint town had to change its water source from treated water that was emerging from Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to a source from Flint River. The crisis arose after this change causing the occurrence of lead contamination that had serious public health threats.
The pollution and the lead contamination were originating from the use of aging pipes that were leaching into the water supply. In the end, there were high levels of great metal. The first ethical issue that can be noted in this scenario is the presence of negligence on the part of the management (Roby, 2016). Ethics dictates that the administration of the water systems that supplies Flint residents with the water resource should always conduct regular checks on the state of their systems to ensure that they are safe for the inhabitants consumption and also the overall public health. The town water management system was negligent on the maintenance and the proper checks on the piping system. The pipes were old and posed a risk to the consumers who had a dependence on the Flint water. However, the management did not take an initiative to replace the pipes resulting in leading contamination in the water transportation which in the end caused the Flint water crisis.
Inadequate research by the Flint emergency manager as well as the state mayor was another ethical issue that is established in the Flint water crisis. Research is an important avenue that has advantages as it gives indicators on the possible challenges as well as positivity that can emerge from a particular idea (Fonger, 2013). Thus, the mayor and the emergency manager did conduct less research on the purchase of 16 million gallons of water. The gallons were to be obtained per day from the Karegnondi Water Authority rather than opting for the Flint River as a permanent water source. Since this step is identified as the initial challenge that led to the water crisis, a proper analysis would have considered the negativity aspects that would arise from the switching from one water source to another water source (Monica & Richard, 2016). It was an ethical issue to avoid this critical step of research and investigations.
Another ethical concern that can be pointed out in the Flint water crisis is the constant assurance by the city management that the water supply was safe for human consumption while research that was always being conducted had a different indication. The early water contamination signs were witnessed when the residents began to complain about the color of water, the taste of the water as well as the odor (Amanda, 2016). Ethically, the city management would have conducted investigations to find out the reasons for the constant complaints from the residents. Instead, after receiving these complaints, they only gave out boil advisories and promised the residents that it will not occur again. It thus means that they knew what was causing the contamination of the water, but they were afraid to tell it openly to the residents. It was thus an ethical concern to take a look at the water and establish the causative agents that would make the taste, color and odor of the water change.
After there was a probe formed to investigate the state of water in Flint, there was a report that was written that had the reasons that would lead to the contamination of the water system. However, there was also another ethical concern that emerged from this state. The management did not take the initiative to share the memo with the public (Benjamin, 2016). The note was developed in June 2014, but the public had to access the information in the notice in November 2014. Before sharing the document to the public, there was a vetting and also a revision on the memo. Consequently, the management was reluctant in giving the total cost that would be incurred to help in the restoration of the safe state of water for consumption purposes.
In conclusion, the Flint water crisis emerged due to various setbacks that majorly can be linked with the management department of the water systems in Flint town. For example, the administration of the city and water agencies in Flint kept giving the residents empty promises instead of taking initiative and investigating the real causes of water contamination. Furthermore, there was a lack of investigation on the possible effects that would arise from the change of water supply in the region. Hence, team collaboration which includes seeking the public opinion and active communication would help mitigation of such crisis ever occurring in any town.
Amanda E. (2016), State launches information center for Flint following emergency declaration, The Flint Journal via Mlive.
Benjamin S, (2016). Flint's water crisis is a human rights violation, Al Jazeera.
Fonger, R. (2013). Detroit 'water war' claims 'wholly without merit,' Genesee County drain commissioner says. Flint Journal.
Julie, B. (2010). Flint Water Crisis Inquiry Finds State Ignored Warning Signs. Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/24/us/flint-water-crisis.html
Monica, D., & Richard, P. (2016). Flint Water Crisis Yields First Criminal Charges. Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/21/us/first-criminal-charges-are-filed-in-flint-water-crisis.html?_r=0
Robby S. (2016). The Government Poisoned Flints WaterSo Stop Blaming Everyone Else, Reason.
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