March 22nd marks World Water Day.
This is a day where advocates usually drum up support to improve water sanitation practices and fund ventures to build and install new wells in developing countries. However, World Water Day 2016 means something different for me.
It reminds me how much we take advantage of the everyday resources available to us. We wash our hands, take showers, and drink filtered water without a thought about it possibly hurting our bodies. Imagine waking up to the news that city water has been declared dangerous to use due to contamination. Imagine being advised to stop using every resource that provides water for you to go about daily life…flushing the toilet, using water to make dinner, washing your hair, bathing, drinking, brushing your teeth…the list goes on and on.
Unfortunately, the residents of Flint, Michigan have been living this way for months. It’s been revealed that for those citizens of the United States, they have been drinking and bathing in contaminated water. In April of 2014, Flint city officials changed its water source from the Detroit River to Flint River. Flint River was never treated, so residents were unknowingly drinking contaminated water with extremely high levels of lead. Close to 12,000 children may have irreversible brain and nervous system damage, developmental issues and loss of IQ due to lead exposure. Bathing in toxic water has caused skin rashes and hair loss in both adults and children. Residents are using baby wipes to wipe themselves down since taking a shower is not recommended. 41% of the residents live below the poverty level, and with no major chain grocery store in the area, parents cannot afford and do not have access to purchase skincare and hygiene items their children desperately need. Many have donated large amounts of bottled water to Flint, but residents are still suffering. U.S. companies and organizations donate and raise millions of dollars to help other countries build new resources and water management systems, but very few have been proactive in helping our own citizens.
Imaginuity is observing World Water Day by collecting donations for children in Flint, Michigan. If you’d like to help, please contact us!