According to a new study, since the enactment of the Clean Water Act in 1972, the Lower Mississippi River, located in Louisiana, United States, is cleaner than it’s ever been.
“The Clean Water Act has been tremendously effective at decreasing the amount of industrial and urban pollution, as this study shows,” says Olivia Dorothy, a Mississippi River management expert with American Rivers. “We need to protect the act and all of its authorities, [and] we also need to start looking at expanding it to cover the emerging public safety threats as they relate to water.”
Since the landmark piece of legislation passed some 50 years ago, there has been a steady decline in bacteria, lead, and other pollutants, as well as an improvement of oxygen and pH levels. Through the Clean Water Act, minimum standards are set for water discharges from industries and municipalities, and regulations can be developed according to specific problems such as oil spills and chemical releases.