MWRA 2006-2007 Writing Contest Winners

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Honorable Mention Winner, Grades 3-5
Evan Chung, Grade 5, Josiah Quincy Elementary School, Boston

Key Question: Tell what you think the greatest benefit was when sludge dumping into Boston Harbor stopped on December 31, 1991.

Did you know that before December 31, 1991, people in the Boston area dumped 370,000,000 gallons of waste, treated and untreated, into the Boston Harbor daily? In the 1800s and 1900s, many diseases, like typhoid, increased and were inevitably blamed on the harbor. It soon became notorious as the most polluted harbor in the country. Then, the government created the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) and it took action with an 11-year, $3.8 billion project, known as the Boston Harbor Project. This was very successful, and on December 31, 1991, the dumping stopped. There are many benefits from this, like the animals recovering and coming back, the sludge being turned into great fertilizer, and the methane gas being able to produce energy, but I think the greatest benefit is how the sludge was turned into fertilizer.

As a result of sludge dumping, we were affected by many new diseases. One of those was the cholera disease epidemic of 1863. The Boston Harbor was known as a toxic pit with great amounts of solid waste matter in it, and it killed many animals and plants. These were food for bigger animals, like whales. The whales in Boston Harbor ate plankton, which were killed by sludge pollution, so they had to leave the harbor. The shoreline was littered with bones of Canadian geese, sea turtles, and seagulls. Great swarms of flies crowded around the rotting, revolting things, and the stench worsened each day. Many other things were contaminated, like flounder and shellfish. Now, sludge has turned into something great: Bay State Fertilizer! This Class-A fertilizer is 100% organic matter and takes the form of little, hard pellets. There are many great nutrients in this, like nitrogen, so the plants are fed slowly over time. It is environment-healthy and works. It is made of something that was once the most dreadful thing you could think of. So, don't you think this fertilizer is better than those chemical ones? (YES!!)

There are so many benefits from no more sludge dumping into Boston Harbor, but I think the fertilizer from sludge is best, because you made something good from something originally bad. I now conclude that no more sludge dumping is much healthier for us, animals, plants, and the Boston Harbor itself!

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