As we see that pollution is now one of the biggest threats facing the world, people from all corners are working to overcome it. While pollution was beginning to be catastrophic for its own reasons, the United States was one of the countries that took immediate restrictive measures against it.
Let us look at the details of pollution in the United States from the beginning to the regulatory bodies and Pollution Prevention Laws in the United States.
Among 115 countries in the year 2017, the US ranks 97th in the number pollution index by country with a value of pollution index at 31.19. In 2012, the US ranked 42 out of 64 countries with a pollution index value of 61.27. In less than a decade, they reduced their pollution levels by almost half.
A Brief Look into the US Pollution History
Cities were becoming more populous. This was in places with high population density, where contamination of water and land sources was first noticed. In the 1800s, people began to realize that unnatural life and contamination of water were the cause of the rise of diseases.
It was in the 1850s that Chicago had the first sewage system in the US to treat wastewater. Following the leadership of Chicago, many major cities in America did the same.
Soon the end of 19th century America began to see pollution levels, especially in water bodies. This was due to increased industrialization. There was no regulation of industrial waste disposal or release of airborne contaminants through the smoke.
The increase in automobile usage was also exacerbating their woes. Diesel was the major source of fuel at that time. Most residues found in water include sulfuric acid, soda ash, lime, dyes, wood pulp, and animal byproducts.
Spontaneous fires on the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland Ohio that began in 1936 and recurred until 1969 led to the establishment of the 1972 Clean Water Act. In October of 1948 the pollutants for the industrial city of Donora, Pennsylvania covered with rich smog.
Deaths for 5 days and serious causes. The Clean Air Act or Air Pollution Control Act passed in 1955 after widespread awareness of the incident.
The most affected states and cities in the United States.
- Both Ohio and Kentucky states where many manufacturing industries and power generation plants are located were found to be the most affected by air pollution. This is according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
- Pennsylvania and Florida get closer in terms of air pollution. Although Florida has tried to reduce it by switching from coal-fired plants to natural gas, its status on its table has not changed much.
- Others in the top ten are Maryland, Indiana Michigan, West Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina.
- Surprisingly, the cities of California state are most polluted by particulate pollution and ozone pollution. The top 5 in each category are Fresno-Madera, Bakersfield, Visalia-Porterville-Hanford, Modesto-Meredd, Los Angeles-Long Beach. This again according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
Regulatory Bodies /Organizations
Environmental Protection Agency
- The Environmental Protection Agency was formed in 1970 during the tenure of President Richard Nixon. Various states and communities had enacted several laws that did not work as expected. So, a federal body was formed.
- EPA’s first responsibility was primarily the execution of the Clean Air Act by regulating emissions from industries and vehicles.
- EPA by pollution of vehicles and industries had reduced air pollution efforts by about a third by 1990.
- This worked when automotive factories were convinced by the EPA to have “acidic converters” in all vehicles.
- Other projects taken by EPA include the Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, Pesticides, Fertilizer Sewage Facilities.
- A successful EPA project was making schools asbestos-free.
- The EPA’s other tasks were to provide funds to build new sewage treatment plants and to fill a huge dump yard and garbage.
National Resources Defense Council
- It was also founded in 1970
- Using scientific studies, statistics, and technological development, NRDC wants to retain more of the natural resources of the Earth for future generations.
- They want to create solutions, create awareness and mobilize people to stop pollution
Pollution Prevention Laws / Policies
Federal Water Pollution control Act Amendments of 1972
It is also known as the Clean Water Act which came into effect on October 18, 1972.
- The purpose of these laws is to maintain and maintain the right balance in the water bodies of the country to make them suitable for the proper functioning of the ecosystem and to make them suitable for human use.
- Through this Act, the EPA makes law provisions for building more efficient sewage treatment plants, better technology to improve the quality of treated water, cleaning up contaminated lakes rivers, etc.
Safe Drinking Water Act
- Established in 1974, these laws seek to protect the quality of drinking water.
- It was established in a different way from the Clean Water Act because laws ensure the quality of water bodies, and also include the quality of groundwater i.e. the water below the earth’s surface.
- These laws require all operators of public water systems to comply with the primary / minimum standards of water safety.
- It authorizes the EPA to prevent contamination of groundwater through underground dumping of waste.
Clean Air Act
- A federal act was established on December 17, 1963, to explore laws for good health and the environment free from air pollution.
- Revised in 1977 and 1990.
- has been successfully applied by the EPA to bring down pollution levels, especially ozone levels, mercury emissions, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide levels.
- These laws brought about a major change in the level of automobile emissions by reducing the main content in fuel.
As previously mentioned, the level of pollution was slowly but surely brought down by drastic and frequent action. While many organizations, industrial groups, and corporations have participated wholeheartedly and tried to bring out methods and technologies to reduce their emissions and waste products, there has also been a side that is resistant to change. Have been.
While adopting new pollution control techniques will prove costly and will eat into beneficial processes, there has been opposition to these facilities as well. The industrial lobby, which runs the power plants and major manufacturing industries, is a very powerful one and is able to make the policy in its favor, defeating the major need to make the environment suitable for all.
Minorities, marginalized, economically backward classes are those who are the main victims of pollution. They are made easy prey with low levels of education and awareness. And they are less likely to demand rigorous protocols followed by industries in their regions.
They are less likely to compensate for health issues related to their pollution or damage to their properties. While non-minority groups are able to get away from it, they are the most vulnerable groups
It is the motto of the government, EPA, and other agencies that it is the right of every person, regardless of color, gender, class, religion, or race, to have access to clean air, water, and a safe environment to live. “Everyone strives for it.