MWRA 2010-2011 Writing Contest Winners

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Cristian Abarca
Grade 9, St. Mary's High School, Lynn
Ms. Goodrum, Teacher


On July 17th, 1605, a French sailor by the name of Samuel Champlain was exploring a body of water that he thought was crucial for the French to own. He decided to name it the Riviere du Gua right away and come back to claim the land later. Little did he know that another sailor called Captain John Smith would come along and name part of that body of water after his king. This part of the harbor became known as the Charles River. As the Boston Harbor slowly grew in size and importance so did its problems. Serious pollution and sickness plagued the towns around the harbor while the state stood around barely helping the issue.

The more people that came to the Boston Harbor, the more trouble it caused. It got so bad that in 1656 a law was passed that prevented butchers from dumping animal meat into the harbor. In 1796 a serious outbreak of typhus, caused by the inhalation of spoiled substances that were caught on the docks, threatened everyone living around the harbor. By the 1800s signs were posted around the harbor telling people not to swim in it for the fear that they would get boils on their skin. In 1850 the first outline for public health for the city of Boston was created, but not until the cholera outbreak of 1863 was it taken seriously. In 1899 the first sewage pumping station was built on Deer Island, which started a race to get the Boston Harbor back to a safe environment.

The damage done from the past century would be hard to clean up, but it needed to be done. Slowly but surely the harbor became noticeably cleaner. Animals that were driven out by the toxic water soon returned and began to spread to their natural habitats. Large amounts of raw sewage were removed from the beaches making them safer to walk and play on. People began to rush back to the areas around the harbor, knowing that it was a clean environment to live in.

Although the Boston Harbor wasn't 100% clean the living conditions were greatly improved, which made everyone happy.  Even though the goal of a clean Boston Harbor was reached it was only a small step in advancing progress of this important body of water.

A clean Boston Harbor would mean more to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts rather than just to the city of Boston. Wind farms placed in the harbor could generate energy for the city of Boston and for the other surrounding cities in the harbor.  Placing hydropower technology at the point where the water flows into and out of the harbor could create energy for a greater area, passing the cities that are just along the edges of the harbor.  A cleaner harbor would mean more animal life returning to the area, creating a bigger fishing industry. A cleaner harbor would ultimately lead to a better way of living for the cities around Boston Harbor, and to the whole Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The Boston Harbor has been through really gruesome days and really good days, going from a toxic warehouse of disease and illness to a safe environment for animals and humans alike.  The possibilities that the harbor holds are endless, and if put in the right hands it can be turned into one of the cleanest, energy producing body of water ever.  The more time that is spent not doing anything about the harbor, the more damage is being redone to it.  The Boston Harbor could easily be turned into a self-sustaining water cleaning station.  The wind farms and hydro technology produce energy for the cleaning stations and in return the cleaning stations release clean water that can be turned back into energy.  I hope to see one day the Boston Harbor has the same blue, crystal clear water as a desert oasis, giving it the appearance that no hand has ever touched it.

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