Sunday, July 15, 2012

Hazy Hot and Humid on the Hahbah!

We started our journey on this hazy hot and humid day on the 1:30p ferry from the MBTA terminal at Boston's Long Wharf.  The temperature is a balmy 83 degrees with a light hazy overcast.  The tide is still falling as part of its six hour cycle.  The tide in Boston is a vertical tide because it is so built up the water does not move up and down the beach but it moves up and down the structures that compose Boston's water front.  One thing that really stood out to me was that it did not smell like we were on the water front.  I do remember in the past being in this area and there being a foul smell lingering in the air, but today the air seems fresh and lighter than it did on that day.

Boston Harbor is a protected harbor that was carved by glaciers and its islands are drumlins, or deposited rock and soil from the glacier as it retreated.  The citizens of Boston did not have to use its natural protection very often except against the British a few times, but mostly from pirates.  Its natural shape aids in making protecting the harbor easier that if it were wide open.

As we are leaving the harbor it is a little choppy; however, these wave are not natural waves, but man made from the activity within the inner harbor and close to shore.  Boston is unique in that it does not have a lot of industrial waste because nothing is really made in Boston.   The waste that was and is removed from the harbor is human waste.  250 million gallons of waste was being dumped into the harbor, but now with the help of the sanitation plant located on Deer Island because of the work of Prof Burman and his team we are able to take this waste and convert it into 250 million gallons of fresh water back into the marine ecology system without harming the habitats of the creatures living here.  The solid waste that remains from this process is shipped over to quincy and turned into fertilizer pellets that are used to fertilize golf courses and other areas.

Twenty five years ago this harbor was a mess.  In fact it was considered dead because of how polluted it was.  In the 1950's people began to nice that something was wrong and began to become interested in the environment and people's effect on it.  The federal government initiated the Clean Air and Water Acts.  The Big Dig was a clean air act and all though the air quality is better in the city of Boston it has not solved the problem, but just moved it higher into the air and away from us.  Looking around the harbor you see that the work of Berman's team is clear. There are people on the harbor islands enjoying the space and for instance on Nut Island there used to be a sewer plant that has now been closed and the homes that were once run down are now multi-million dollar establishments.  The water actually looks clean and the air is fresh.  To think that this body of water was dead 25 years ago is fairly hard to believe, but we are lucky to live in such a beautiful area and to have access to such a wonderful natural resource.

Here are some pictures from the trip:

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