Letters to the Editor

Imagine life without water

Dear Editor:

On behalf of water and wastewater utilities throughout Massachusetts, I ask all residents to “Imagine a Day Without Water” on Thursday, September 15.

On that day, a national coalition including water and wastewater officials, business and community leaders, and environmental organizations will raise public awareness about the vital role of clean, safe, and reliable water. A major investment is urgently needed to repair and modernize the aging and deteriorating infrastructure that provides this essential public service.

Public water supplies in the U.S. are free of waterborne diseases that kill millions of people each year in other parts of the world.  These water supplies also prevent and suppress fires, drive economic growth that generates additional jobs and tax dollars, sustain agriculture, and support our high quality of life.

Separate wastewater systems collect and clean used water so it can be safely recycled or returned to the environment.

But the current water and wastewater infrastructure – the network of pipes and distribution mains, as well as other components mostly invisible to the public eye – are not permanent structures.  As materials age and technology advances, they need to be replaced and maintained, especially in New England, where a number of water structures are more than 100 years old.

To secure a sustainable water future, investing in water and wastewater infrastructure needs to be a top priority on the local, state, and national level – now.

Recently, a day (or often days) without water became a reality for residents of Flint, Mich.; drought-stricken California; and flooded communities from Texas to South Carolina to West Virginia.

To confront this mounting infrastructure crisis, I urge the public to advocate for and support funding for critical water and wastewater improvements in your community.

No American, present or future, should ever have to live a day without water.

At this time, I also urge all residents and businesses to conserve water as a prolonged, severe to extreme drought grows throughout Massachusetts.

Contact your local water utility for your community’s drought status and for ways to conserve water.


Stephen J. Ryan,

Executive Director

New England Water Works Association

Big tobacco targeting youths

Dear Editor,

As the school year begins, our thoughts turn to what we hope young people will learn this year. As parents, teachers and others concerned with health, let’s be aware that youth are being targeted by the tobacco industry. Big Tobacco is sweet talking our kids with products that are sweet, cheap, and easy to get. Fruit and candy flavors in little cigars, chewing tobacco, hookahs, electronic cigarettes and e-liquids attract youth and contain varying amounts of nicotine that can lead to nicotine addiction.

In 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration wisely banned flavored cigarettes (other than menthol) because of mounting evidence that the tobacco industry was using flavors to market to youth. Since then, the tobacco industry has been producing other tobacco products using the same flavor chemicals found in candy and soft drink products like Life Savers, Jolly Ranchers and Kool Aid. Yet they are NOT harmless. The tobacco industry is using these flavors to attract youth to products that are highly addictive because they contain nicotine.

In fact, the U.S Surgeon General found that tobacco companies use flavorings in smokeless tobacco products as part of a “graduation strategy” that encourages new users to start with flavored products with lower levels of nicotine and work their way up to more addictive products. Now the tobacco industry is circumventing the federal ban on flavored cigarettes by producing these other flavored products to establish a new route to addicting youth to nicotine.

What can you do? Talk with young people about this. Make sure they know that these tobacco products contain nicotine and are not harmless. Back-to-school season is a time when youth are learning new and important information for the first time; as concerned adults, let’s make sure they learn that flavored tobacco products contain nicotine.

For more information about these products and to learn how you can take action, visit GetOutraged.org or email me at [email protected]. Big Tobacco is trying to sweet talk our kids into a lifetime of tobacco addiction.


Lacina Onco

Metro Boston Tobacco-Free Community



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