As if the residents of Flint, MI, needed anymore bad news…more than six months after President Barack Obama declared the city a state of emergency for its water crisis, it’s being reported that bottled water donations are way down.
According to ABC 12 News, for months the state has been supplying the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan with about 40,000 cases of bottled water a week, but now that has changed drastically.
“Well it certainly is like night and day,” said Bill Kerr, president of the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, told ABC 12.
Kerr explained that they have gone from filling up to 50 semis a week of water to now just seven and that January was the peak of donations for both financial assistance and with water bottles.
So what’s behind this decline? Kerr believes Flint just isn’t on people’s radar as it once was.
“You know, we’re not at the peak of the media’s attention right now and you know, quite honestly, the water in the state it is, where the water is drinkable in Flint now as long as you use filters, there is less need in some peoples’ eyes for bottled water. We will continue to supply water to the community as long as it’s needed,” he told the news outlet.
But the town isn’t giving up.
On Wednesday, Bishop Roger Lee Jones, the head of Greater Holy Temple Church of Christ in God, held a press conference to get the news out that donations are dwindling, ABC 12 noted.
“There’s a great need for donations,” said Jones, who also told the crowd that before, they would let people take as much water as they needed. Now it’s limited to 4 cases per person.
“I’ve never seen this kind of despair, I’ve never seen this kind of hurt,” he added.
Clearly we can understand why access to clean drinkable water is so important to the people of Flint.
Since Gov. Snyder decided to switch the city’s water supply from the Detroit water system to the Flint River–a body of water known to have copious amounts of trash, pollution and iron–there have been numerous reports of hair loss and rashes, thousands exposed to dangerous toxins and a whopping 9,000-plus children diagnosed with lead poisoning.
Even though the water was changed back last October, the supply still has major problems. In January, state officials announced that the levels of lead are still so high in Flint that they are urging all residents to get their water tested with free kits being passed out at local fire stations, the Detroit Press wrote. And Pregnant women and children 6 and under are asked to only drink bottled water in the meantime.