Writing Contest Winners 2016-2017

Third Place, Grades 3-5

Abigail Wojtaszek
Grade 5, Galvin Middle School, Wakefield
Heather Cook, Teacher

Whatever the Weather

"The MWRA works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 52 weeks a year providing clean drinking water from the Quabbin and Wachusett Reservoirs and providing wastewater treatment at Deer Island to 2.5 million people." This is something that most people don't ever think about and neither did I until this past fall when my family and I went on a biking trip to the Quabbin Reservoir in Belchertown, MA. I was able to see the water that comes to Boston and other towns near my home of Wakefield. The Quabbin was peaceful, quiet, and like no other biking trail I have ever done before. As we biked, my dad would explain all the work that was done to flood the area and create this water source. We would read the plaques with explanations of the towns that were once where we were standing, it was a strange feeling. This made me think of all the people who had made this possible and worked hard to make it happen. We looked at the pictures of homes and buildings that were gone, we could see the foundations of homes that were once there. We imagined the families that had to leave to make this possible for others.

When we turn on our water at home, we don't think of where it comes from and of the people that worked hard then and now to give us our water each day. Since our bike trip I have. I think of MWRA workers that work outdoors. They are more affected by weather conditions than those who work indoors. Bad weather conditions can get workers sick. Workers that have to work outside can face more safety issues that could lead to long term health problems or accidents. Some examples of weather hazards are air pollution, natural disasters and extreme heat, cold and sun exposure.

Natural disasters such as floods, landslides, lightning storms, droughts, snowstorms, and wildfires can hurt you while you're at your job. Workers that help in rescue missions and cleanup are exposed to dangerous circumstances. Extreme cold can cause hypothermia and frostbite. Extreme heat can cause heat stroke, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat rash. The sun can send out UV rays that can cause damage to your skin, some UV rays will cause skin cancer. It could even happen on cloudy days.

We are so used to using water and not thinking of all the workers that make this seem so simple, they treat our sewage, maintain our pipes, give us clean water and work hard each day to make this possible. When you are drinking water stop for a minute and think of the process people go through to make it all happen. It is pretty incredible.

Source: "Impact of Climate on Workers." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 06 Dec. 2016. Web. 24 Feb. 2017.
Link: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/climate/how.html


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