September 24th, 2014 10:45 AM
Running water is something most Americans take for granted. As soon as we wake up, we’re taking showers, flushing the toilet and making coffee with it. Throughout the day we assume it’ll be there for our immediate use, and that it’ll be clean and fresh.
Shockingly, it wasn’t always like this. Water pollution became part of the norm decades ago, until a decision was reached to make a change that would benefit our country years to come. Today we celebrate the 42nd anniversary of the Clean Water Act (CWA), a law that laid the groundwork in protecting the integrity of water.
In the mid 20th century, water pollution was at an all time high. Clean sources of water were becoming a rarity. The trash-filled waters would cause odors that would fill towns. Rivers would catch on fire because of their contamination. It became no secret that extreme measures had to be taken to secure healthy water sources for our future.
On October 18, 1972, the controversial CWA was passed. The mission of the act was clear and simple: To restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the nation's waters.
- Forty-two years later, we can see the immense amount of progress made as a direct result of the CWA:
- Point source pollution, i.e. pollution that can easily be traced back to its source, has decreased drastically.
- The quality of our nation’s water has greatly improved, making clean water more accessible.
- Wetlands and rivers have bounced back to health.
The law was a catalyst to the improvement of water that our country needed. Today, we urge you to celebrate the anniversary of the CWA by continuing the trend of protecting our nation’s water. To learn more about how the CWA affects you, check out the Environmental Protection Agency’s overview.