Grade 6, Oak Hill Middle School, Newton Centre
Paul Lyons, Russell Hunt and Tierney Leary, Teachers
I'm Sorry, Mr. Toilet...
A reflection of a three-year-old
"Mommy! Mr. Toilet won't flush!" I screamed from upstairs.
Mr. Toilet was the name I gave my toilet because he ate all the trash I threw in him.
Mommy came upstairs. She told me she would have to call the plumber.
But first she asked me if I had put anything in Mr. Toilet.
"Well .. I mumbled. "I put my candy wrappers, wipes, apple juice bottles and of course Mr. Goldie (my goldfish) when he died." I started to suck my thumb.
"You can't flush any of that stuff down toilets, that's why we have trash cans," mommy said. "It may be that Mr. Toilet got c1ogged, "she added.
"What does clogged mean?" I asked, but now I was almost in tears, because I knew I had done something wrong.
"Well, when a toilet gets clogged it means that some things that went in it got stuck because they can't disintegrate." She went on, "Even if your wipes say "flushable" doesn't mean they are. Studies have shown that toilet paper disperses in 1 to 5 minutes. So, if something is flushable it should take 1 to 5 minutes to disperse."
"Oh." I was worried. "Can I take the trash out of the toilet?" I asked looking inside it as my tears splashed in.
"No, what goes in your toilet doesn't just clog your pipes, it fills the sewers and pollutes the local aquatic ecosystem, so it could end up in oceans, lakes, streams, or other waterways."
"How can I fix what I have done?" I whispered, pointing inside the toilet.
"Well, there is no real solution that will reverse what you have done, but maybe you could find a way to help or inform people about not flushing garbage."
"When I grow up I want to help toilets and water!" I exclaimed. "Where can I do that?"
"People at the MWRA are always cleaning, finding and informing people about water," she said proudly. "But don't think too far ahead. There are plenty of things you can do even now!" She held me tightly as she spoke, looking straight into my eyes as if she knew that I could do something.
"Tell me more," I said.
"I was thinking that maybe you could tell your friends what to do, and what not to do.'
"Yah, I'll tell them that toilets are just for toilet stuff, but trash cans are for trash!"
The next day, when I walked in Ms. Tompson's kindergarten classroom, I was holding a huge banner all wrapped up around my arms, this is what it looked like:
I was so proud of myself for teaching my friends about what happens when you flush trash! They all thought about what they've flushed and how they were going to fix it.
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