MWRA Writing Contest Winners - 2004
Third Place, Grades 6-8
Ms. DeRosa, teacher
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The Greatest Contributing Factor in the Revitalization of Boston Harbor
Once called the dirtiest harbor in America, Boston Harbor is well on the road to a complete recovery. Until the 1950s, millions of gallons of untreated sewage were discharged into Boston Harbor every day, contaminating the water, sediments and fish. In 1985, the EPA sued the state, and the federal court ordered the MWRA to build a multi-billion-dollar state-of-the-art treatment facility for sewage from Boston and 42 other surrounding communities. For example, sewage sludge -- which used to be dumped directly into the harbor -- is now "pelletized" and used as fertilizer. This discharge of toxins into the harbor has been greatly reduced and the WMRA now also upgraded its pumping facilities. This treatment plant is built on Deer Island and a 9-mile outfall tunnel discharges treated wastewater away from shallow Boston Harbor waters!
In 1993, 30 million dollars was approved by the state legislature for the Department of Conservation and Recreation's "Back to the Beaches" program to restore and enhance Boston Harbor beaches. They restored boathouses, benches, shade shelters, body- and foot- showers, walkways and landscaping. Gone forever now are the decaying wooden piers and rotting, ramshackle sheds that used to line the docksides years ago.
The South Boston waterfront has now become the city's hottest real estate market, including a 1.2 billion dollar proposed complex that will include docks and a tidal pool!
The Boston Harbor is also well on its way back to having a healthy and lively marine life. There are far more fish in the harbor and higher spawning rates in the local areas. The harbor also offers boat trips for whale watching tours and fine pleasure cruises. Annual Marine Safaris introduce hundreds of children each spring to the seasonal migration of seals and porpoises in Boston Harbor; taking them on a 3-hour cruise to observe the marine life that is now flourishing. Today, there are new youth programs that introduce children to the excitement of catching fish, crabs and lobsters with angling instruction and harbor ecology. This program is called Save the Harbor/Save the Bay (Fishing 101) and it includes meetings in Charlestown, South Boston and East Boston. Sailing centers are also offering education and instruction to anyone who is interested.
Of course, the Boston Harbor now offers many new and beautiful hotels where tourists from all over the world spend their time while visiting and experiencing all that Boston now has to offer.
In conclusion, I do believe that because the MWRA has contributed the greatest role in the clean-up of Boston Harbor, they are truly the ones who are responsible for all the rewards that we are able to experience today. Not only are businesses booming and industries thriving, but we are living in a cleaner, healthier and safer environment for all!
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