MWRA 2012-2013 Writing Contest Winners

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Cora Alessandra Cluett
Grade 7, Atlantic Middle School, Quincy
Ms. Rendle, Teacher


A Real World Dilemma

While renovating my bedroom, I decided it was time for a new wall color. After looking at many colors, I narrowed it down to blue and green. Which color to choose? How will it affect my room? Making this decision reminded me of a real-world dilemma many people face when choosing between tap and bottled water. This decision, however, has ramifications far beyond the color of a bedroom. This choice impacts the planet.

Taking a sip from your water bottle, you may imagine a pristine, sparkling spring glimmering in the sunlight, reflecting a clear baby blue sky polka-dotted with fluffy white cotton balls that is surrounded by forest green trees and birds chirping merrily all around. This spring, however, is only a figment of your deceived imagination.

Through deceptive advertising, you are tempted to buy something you really don't need at all. In general, tap water is healthier than bottled water, and wins the prize for being the cheapest and most earth-friendly as well. The "pure, 100%" natural spring water" you "taste" in your water bottle is often just filtered tap water. The "spring" you thought it came from is in fact a factory site producing water bottles faster than Secretariat could win the Triple Crown.

Disposable water bottles are suspected of leaching chemicals into the water ( which some believe may be one link to breast cancer. So the next time you take a sip of that "pure, all natural spring water," know that water may not be all you're drinking.

In addition, have you ever thought about how expensive it is to produce and buy them? The U.S. spends around fifteen million dollars a year to produce these bottles ( and the oil it takes (17 million barrels) could fuel one million cars for a year (

Water bottle companies are swallowing up your money in big gulps - fast. What about the Earth? There aren't enough people recycling water bottles. A mere one in six bottles is actually recycled (

Even worse, the non-recycled bottles can take hundreds of years to disintegrate, leaving a polluted footprint that lasts much longer than you.

Slowly turn on the tap. The first tiny drop of water comes down with a plop. So clear and glistening as the drops fall into each other in an ongoing waterfall and collide and collect in your cup. Stop for a moment. Take a sip. Savor the cold, fresh water at its finest. As you turn off your tap, the remaining drops lingering on the spout beg you to refill again.

This, my friend, is no illusion. Tap water is not out to deceive you but to refresh you with better water than you'll get from a bottle. Tap water is simply better quality water, cheaper, and certainly better for our Earth. Rest assured that local governments make sure the water that awaits you at your tap is safe ( Tap water is constantly being monitored by certified labs ( and is likely tested more often for coliform bacteria than bottled water (

When it comes to saving money, tap water is your friend. MWRA households pay pennies per gallon ( And convenience? You can buy a safe (no plastic chemicals) reusable water bottle. The bottle will pay for itself countless times as you refill it every day and relish the water that's good for you and the earth everywhere you go.

Tap or bottled? It's your decision to make. But remember, the footprint you leave behind in water bottles now will affect our planet far beyond your lifetime. Wouldn't it be nice if we could eliminate bottled water completely? Perhaps then, we can avoid the fate of purchasing "fresh bottled air."

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." (Dr. Suess' The Lorax).

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