Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably heard about the Flint water crisis recently. If you haven't: 1. You really need to read the news. 2. Here's the scoop: for nearly two years, the residents of Flint have been poisoned by their water supply from the Flint River.
In 2011, Gov. Snyder hired a slew of emergency managers to mend the poor city of Flint and to cut costs. In April 2014, one of the managers decided to remove Flint from Detroit's water supply and replace it with water directly from the Flint River, yum. The water from the river hasn't been treated properly, and contains high levels of lead and chloride. Water filters have been distributed to residents that are capable of treating water containing lead up to 150 parts per billion. Officials announced that the lead levels in the Flint water samples that were tested ranged from 153 parts per billion to over 4,000 parts per billion, exceeding the filters capability.
The effects of lead poisoning are dangerous for adults and children, but especially for unborn and young children. The effects on children include developmental delays, damage to the nervous system, impairs cognitive functions, and more. These effects are irreversible.
Flint has been declared in a state of emergency at the state and federal levels. Since the crisis has made national news, many celebrities have donated bottles of water and funds to help aid the city of Flint including Cher, Jimmy Fallon, Big Sean, Meek Mill, Eminem, and more.
Many local efforts have been made as well, including an independent water drive on campus ran by the WSU Sigma Pi fraternity, Gamma-Omega chapter. Hamza Ahmed, a senior dual student and Philanthropy Committee Chairman of the fraternity, took initiative of the event.
"It occurred to me when I was driving to Wayne State University one morning in late December. I was listening to the news on the radio and the water situation was mentioned and how the basic need for human life was being affected. This gave me the idea of holding a Water Drive event on behalf of my Chapter," Ahmed said. "I informed my fellow brothers about the situation and what I planned on doing. Everyone was very eager to participate in the cause and started contacting their families and employers about possible donations. Within a week, we acquired donation offers from four different businesses that amounted to $2,000."
The event took place Thursday, Jan. 28 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Student Center.
"In a matter of hours and such short notice, we were able to raise enough donations for 5,400 water bottles," Ahmed said.
How you can help:
Sigma Pi plans to continue holding water drives through the month of February. Sigma Pi hopes to raise at least 100,000 bottles of water. People who are unable to bring donations to the drives can make donations online from anywhere, Ahmed said. All donations collected will go towards United Way of Genesee County.
"People should know that residents of Flint are struggling every day to achieve a normal life. With the current water supply, they are not only unable to drink water but they cannot wash hands, bathe themselves, cook, or anything where water can come in contact with them. The need for clean water was there, is there, and will continue to be there for quite some time," Ahmed said.
To stay updated on upcoming events, "like" the Sigma Pi Gamma-Omega Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SigmaPiGO.
Monetary donations are also accepted by checks payable to Sigma Pi Fraternity, Gamma-Omega Chapter.