MWRA 2006-2007 Writing Contest Winners

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Honorable Mention Winner, Grades 3-5
Francesca Violich, Grade 5, Josiah Quincy Elementary School, Boston

Prompt: What do you think is the greatest benefit when sludge dumping in Boston Harbor ended in 1991?

I think that the most important benefit when sludge dumping stopped in 1991 is the returning of marine mammals and fish. Did you know that in the Greater Boston area each of the 3 million people produces about 4.5 pounds of waste each day? Before 1991, all that raw sludge from people's kitchens, baths and toilets went straight into the Boston Harbor. You can imagine how disgusting that might be. What people didn't realize was that the harbor had a life of its own. Jellies and large fish swam in these waters. Whales and dolphins came here to rest in the rich cold Atlantic waters. When the raw sludge was dumped into the ocean it affected many of the animals living in the protected waters of our bay. These creatures were an important part of our ecosystem, and the loss of them was surely not a good sign.

The waste started settling in places like George's Bank, a favorite resting spot for whales and a feeding place for many types of Atlantic dolphins. The pollution started to kill the micro plankton, which were food for the whales. Soon all the whales and large marine mammals like seals and dolphins left the polluted waters of the bay to find clean water and food elsewhere. Smaller fish could find no food and started to die. Larger fish that ate smaller fish had no food, and they had to either swim away or die. After 10 years of pollution into the Boston Harbor, there were very few animals left in the waters of the harbor.

I think it is vital that our bay becomes clean and that all the different species that once lived here comes back. The whole reason that the area was chosen to make a city was because of the marine ecosystem that thrived in the waters. It is important that we do not forget Boston's history and the bay as we progress with technology and energy. The marine life returning to the harbor is a sign of success; that we are helping to reclaim the diverse natural history of our city's harbor and waterways and hopefully enjoy these waterways as part of a living marine ecosystem for decades to come.

Ever since the treatment plants have been processing our waste, the waters of the harbor have gotten cleaner and cleaner. Many of the animals have started coming back to the area. If you go on a whale watch to George's Bank, you might see whales again resting and feeding on the now plentiful plankton and small fish. Since 1991, no more raw sludge pollutes our harbor, only clean water that has been treated using state-of-the-art technology. Hopefully our bay will stay clean for years to come.

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