Pollution has become a major problem in America. In many parts of the country man has so befouled the air and water that he finds himself confronted by the problem of a self-induced calamity.
Belatedly, our nation is taking vigorous steps to reduce or eliminate the causes of pollution. This action must be drastic and thorough.
By-products of industrial and technological progress are the major causes of our pollution problem. I was recently driving on a famous mountain parkway. The views were breathtaking, but in two valleys below, far removed from any city, there were modern factories, each employing hundreds of the residents of surrounding communities. From both of the high stacks there poured a greyish-yellow smoke, covering the valleys for miles. A gentle breeze was spreading this polluting vapor so that the air all the inhabitants of that area must breathe was seriously contaminated.
Only a day later I was driving by a small river that once had given pleasure to many as a site for boating, swimming, and fishing. The water was the color of strong tea, and on its surface there floated a thick scum from detergents, causing the stream to resemble an open sewer.
Commerce and normal travel also make their contribution to pollution—the contrails of high-flying jets, smoke and gases from trains, and the ever increasing problem of combustion engines with their low-level contamination of the air we breathe.
Our ability to invent and perfect things useful to modern living has not yet extended to the point where we can eliminate the by-products that adversely affect elements essential to life itself.
In addition, there is man’s proclivity to add to his problems willfully by filling his lungs with irritants.
The problem of contamination ...1
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