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National Educational radio presents the following program in cooperation with a group w the Westinghouse Broadcasting Company logo. Sounds like bass immortalizing a river or a mountain stream have become a part of our American heritage. In most towns rivers and lakes played major roads in the economy and recreation of the people living along their back the generations of children from liked in the waters whole heroes like emerge from their adventures some dead men courted their sweethearts on the rivers and industry and transport with no thought of tomorrow dependent upon the abundant waters to build the American way of Los Lobos.
Today we live well in these United States. But the day of reckoning has finally come for the old male's dream a century of neglect. Has resulted in the water pollution which now prevents affluent Americans from enjoying their heritage. Group W the Westinghouse Broadcasting Company presents the pollution explosion a 10 part study of the rising tide of air and water pollution in America. Your commentator. During the last century Americans lived in an age of political and technological innocence and the myriad problems of today's urbanized society are partially the result. Certainly air and water pollution are direct descendants of the innocent belief that air and water could go on absorbing man's wastes indefinitely. Today people all over the country are seeing sites like this
unhappy citizen describe river water itself is strikingly different than say ocean water or pure a lake water. It takes brilliance coloring from the residue of factories. And then there is that beautiful rarefied fresh American air. The song writers and poets still tell us about it. The pollution of our water and air and in some respects our very land has grown to such proportions that if it is not stopped. America the most bountiful country on earth may in the simplest of terms actually run out of breathable air and usable water in certain areas. Dr Steven Ayres of New York City St. Vincent Hospital who was also president of the
Manhattan branch New York state's action for clean air suggests what New York City might be like in the future if its current air pollution problem isn't checked. If you want to see how things will be here in 1970 just take a trip to London. Because England is a country in which some 60 million people live on a piece of real estate the size of the state of Ohio or of their air pollution is therefore concentrated in a very small area and in London. Air pollution is a terrible problem. The climate is Ret. and humid and this combination of a high degree of air pollution and a great deal of weather difficulty has led to an increase of the SEMA and bronchitis that is ten times what it is in the United States. And more important young children in London and England in general have a high incidence of bronchitis and the seamen were fearful that if we don't take rather stringent control measures now
we will be in the said shape of the Londoners in 10 or 15 years. And equally frightening prospect exists in the area of pure water. Maine Senator Edmund Das musky who is chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on air and water pollution has learned a great deal about the dangers of water pollution contends that our waters must be protected. There just isn't that much water to go around. The idea that we we have a choice between jobs and pickerel for example a phrase that. It was Karen not too long ago. It's false. We need a policy which would be useful for birth because we cannot do with less. In the last 10 years. Recognition of this problem that we might run out of clean air and water has brought the beginnings of the massive restart of action that will be needed. The federal government has taken the initiative with
abatement legislation money and research. But as President Johnson has explained the ultimate victory. Reclaiming this portion of our national heritage. Really rests in the hands of all the people of America. Yes the government here in Washington. Much of the money. Some of the imagination. Much of the effort. Must be generated at the local level. And then. And really only then. Well this blueprint for victory. Becomes victory in fact. What do we need for the future in our war against pollution. First one is Colonel Alvin F. Maier chairman of the Defense Department's Pollution Control Committee. We need more than just paper legislation that concerns me is that emphasis on a bike.
Can result in two things. Iraq application and the research development and evaluation and secondly the generation in the public consciousness that simply by passing the laws and getting some of the bill waste debate would work the problem is them so that I don't have to worry about. This is the real hazard awareness that this is not necessarily the problem. We must have laws obviously to ensure at least the bare bones of pollution cleanup. But hand in hand with the laws must go the technology to accomplish their requirements. Right now there is some worry that our abatement measures have outstripped our ability to implement them. But can we wait for further knowledge John Barnhill deputy commissioner of the federal water pollution control administration says as a result no
Remeron have all the technical and scientific knowledge we need to solve all the problems and pollution that we have a considerable amount. But at the same time we do have a considerable knowledge of the pollution problems a reasonably old one and whatever however low gear it might have been in the past we still develop some knowledge and there is a good deal we can do based on our present technology. We believe that within 10 years or so it will be possible to treat any race economically to the point where it simply will not put the you know it won't. Once it's been treated that water will be of such a quality that can be used correctly. Actually we see emerging today. Polluted water in a number of parts of the country and. I've seen one of our research scientists literally drink Reder which was representing purified sewage effluent
actually the water was in better quality after the after the purification rise when and when it went into the into the faucets in the first place. And I think this is a highly experimental thing as yet but it represents the kind of accomplishment that we can see lying ahead in the kind of area in which we can solve not only the pollution problems that we have but the problems of water short areas such as the Southwest. That last voice was Dr. Alan Hirsch program plan I have for the F.W. PCa. He agrees however when Mr. Biden emphasizes that even though this advanced technology may be only a scant 10 years away there's nothing to be gained whatsoever except disaster and not applying what we know now. If we wait until we have the perfect answer. We'll be swimming in our own muck. The move now is school of thought applies also to the air pollution problem
although in this area as Thomas F. Williams chief Office of Legislative and Public Affairs Division of air pollution U.S. Public Health Service points out there are many more technological solutions needed. There is equipment available for most sources of pollution in the farm the equipment that is available were applied. We'd see a very dramatic reduction in air pollution every place in the country. Some of the major sources of pollution for which we do not now have economically feasible means of control. Are of course trucks and Bessus diesel powered trucks and busses. Control of suffer dioxide and other forms of softness gases from power plants and many other sources and control of oxides of nitrogen which is not yet so critical in our opinion as a control of oxides of sulfur. These are the principal ones I feel that that right now we
cannot control we do not control because we cannot. Don't know how to control them. But as Secretary Gardner said recently a country of the public in a country which is and I am paraphrasing him which is accustomed to seeing a new man in space every few months is not going to be long patient with our plea that we don't know how to control diesel exhaust because we're too dumb to do it. The emphasis should be placed on engineering. We must find ways of controlling more satisfactorily in the automobile. Speaking now is Dr. A.J. Haagen Smit professor of biochemistry at the California Institute of Technology. We cannot possibly be satisfied with the present
efficiency. And that in a way goes also for any industry that we must be able to control but I know the industry is doing much better I think in general than the automobile does. But nevertheless we will have other processes that come in new chemicals being made. Almost no problems I ask. They deal with research and development income toward myself and on the field which I think is Israel important that is then finding out they need a kind of period of rant. People begin to be affected. People are plants. Let's back the people that are. Guys it is not enough to say to me I get a headache because it is too late. We want to know long before before somebody gets a headache
and this is the kind of work that needs and years of research and large funds and I went to probably have Tice not the body. To put behind them. But all too quickly became something I could not find many public health officials feel that standards for clean air similar to those now being set for what would be very helpful. Among them is Dr. Lester Breslow Director of Public Health for California the better we can spell out the air quality requirements. In physical and chemical terms. The better we can plan our cities. Design our transportation facilities for the future. And the degree of control required. To achieve the goals. If we can agree on the goals. I'm sure that we will all be in a better position to decide how to reach them. Although there is now a goodly amount of pollution control legislation at the federal level.
It will have to keep pace with new technology. Also clear is that the strongest thrust in these measures. Must come at the local and state levels. An excellent example of the type of program needed is the recent New York state's billion dollar a pure waters bond issue. As New York Governor Rockefeller asserts It's a unique program and I hope sincerely that it's going to inspire other states to take the same kind of decisive action. If they want to have the right after drinking and using their communities if they want to have it for recreation purposes if they want to have a job that is going to have to. Issue Bonds. To. The states the local communities along with federal aid carried this law. And that it's going to become a must. Unfortunately as is true of water pollution air pollution can't be cleaned up by passing a bond issue and it too is primarily a
local problem which must be dealt with by counties and states. Tom Williams speaking for the US Public Health Service says hopefully. It seems to me two things are needed. One is there must be adequate policing adequate real adequate policing. There must be adequate enforcement backed up by adequate laws at the local and state levels of government that must it seems also increasingly it seems be some means of encouraging industries to purchase the equipment or make the operational changes or whatever might be required to control their sources of air pollution. And I think in most places in the country neither of these existence efficient measure most of our local air pollution control programs at this time still made over versions of all smoke control programs
which are fairly obsolete in their approach toward controlling air pollution in their understanding of the true nature of the problem and so on. A lawmaker at the local level New York City Councilman Robert Lowe feels that if industry is given the proper incentives are democratic free enterprise system with its built in competitive values will come up with the necessary solutions. It seems to us. That a legislative timetable which gives industry a year or two years of five years can provide the economic incentive to develop basic new air pollution control equipment. New processes and techniques are markets for them. And I might add of course that may be incidental by products which will bring profit to industry. Furthermore legislation providing such a timetable can create the climate for competition within an industry or between industries and the economic incentive which
is the key in our judgment to technological progress. However Pollution Control and Prevention is accomplished. It will cost money a great deal of money. Much of the financing for waste disposal works will come from federal cost sharing plans but a goodly amount must also come directly from overstrained state and local sources. Many government spokesmen assert that the costs can be managed without too much difficulty. But Representative Donald Clawson of California says they can't and offers some ideas on possible ways to ease local money problems. Anyone familiar with the school. Problems of communities and states certainly are aware of the fact that most of the tax sources have literally been taken away from them or preempted by the federal government. The federal government today collects about two thirds of the tax revenues in America. And I believe as I have for many many years
that it is absolutely essential for every level of government to give attention to a total revision of our entire tax structure part of which would be to devise something in the way of an extension of the Bradley Byrne's concept which we have in California where a sales tax could be shared on a broader scale with the property tax. So as to provide relief at the federal level I have been one of those that has held the view that we repeat as many of the tax sources as we possibly can at this at the federal level and then permit the states to pick them up. Now if this cannot be done when considering the political facts of life why then it may be necessary for us to develop this sharing of the tax income tax that has been collected at the federal level.
Sharing it in such a way that we would return in the form of a consolidated grant a percentage of the overall revenue that is collected through the federal tax sources. And I believe that in many ways this would promote simultaneous action on the part of each level of government. When federal officials talk in terms of billions of dollars to clean up pollution Mr average homeowner shadows crying how can we afford it. Actually in says Deputy Commissioner Baron Hill. The cost to each individual is not to be shouted at. I don't think the cost is that high for you and me as individual citizens. It really doesn't amount to very much. It's considerably less than what the average person spends a year for cigarettes. And if you. We were so bad off in this country that we can afford to buy cigarettes and we can afford to buy clean
water I think we're in trouble. Edmond fall to Mayra staff writer for Fortune magazine made a recent study of the costs of controlling air pollution and came up with the same answer. I calculated roughly would cost the country about three billion dollars a year to do this and this would work out to about a dollar 30 a month per person 3 billion a year sounds like a lot but that's less than the roughly a revenant billion dollars a year that it's costing us to put up with air pollution. So in a sense it's crossing us almost four times as much to put up with it as it would do something about it. All these things are necessary for returning our air and water to cleanliness laws. Technology and engineers incentives money but in the final analysis the case for pollution control rests with the United States citizen. This is B brand. Hi I'm president of the
New York City citizens for clean air speaks for everyone concerned with the clean up gambit. We feel that the role of the citizen is the most crucial thing. This was very dramatically demonstrated to me by the former Los Angeles County Air Pollution Control Officer Smith Griswold who was the person who brought about a revolution in Los Angeles and he said repeatedly that he could never have done anything had there not been a citizen demand. He told me of how when he reported a violating oil refinery outside Los Angeles 15000 people in Los Angeles sent back their gas credit cards to that company. How Children of the air pollution control officers who were not doing their job at the time used to come home from school with black eyes. That's how angry the citizenry of Los Angeles was. That is how angry we are trying to make the citizens of New
York before the problem in New Jersey is even begun to be tackled. We're going to have to make the citizens of New Jersey angry. People invested in Philadelphia are not even aware of the problem until a citizen group called it to their attention. Not only must a desire for pollution control come from the people. But also a sense of personal responsibility for current pollution and a willingness to abate this pollution on an individual basis at the moment. Judges Thomas R. Glenn director of The New York New Jersey Connecticut interstate sanitation committee that willingness doesn't exist. You said we realize the major problem. We do realize that there's a major health hazard from smoking and I'm going to turn our pollution meter a little chap to baffle all their pollution experts around smoking and if we can on this a very good type of person or type of pollution if
we can pass people that this is bad you have a harder time and passing on the rare and not until the people as a whole raft of enforcement like that about it not a right of pollution are the ground of them make these big changes and employ people ready to inconvenience themselves. H h. Meredith Julia coordinator of air and water conservation for the humble oil and refining company adds his voice to the swelling crowd of pollution control experts who put the onus squarely on the public the public has a responsibility. The responsibility to become informed and to understand it must become aware of what the situation is in its own geographical area and what has to be done to rectify any problems that exist. Repeatedly the message comes across. The war is on the battle
against pollution joined and whatever it takes America must be returned to productive beauty. The federal government will assume the full responsibility for this attack only if the local government defaults for says an adamant Tom Williams. This is one battle that America will not be allowed to lose. The role of the federal government in the future will be determined pretty much by ROTT local and state governments and industry do from this point on. Under current legislation the main purpose of the Clean Air Act is to stimulate the development of strong local and state programs. Strong enough. And determined enough that they won't blow over at the first breath of dissent from local polluters. States and local governments do not respond to the challenge. Then
there is no doubt in my mind that the federal government despite or of a howling that might come from all kinds of places will simply take over some of the powers in this field that at this time we all believe ought to be retained by states and local governments. The problem will not be allowed to overwhelm us and it will overwhelm us if we do not move against it with more alacrity than we have in the past. Those powers which are now rule with states and local governments will have to be exercised. And to the extent that they are not exercised I am sure we will hear a clamor for somebody to exercise them. And as has been the case in many other fields when the local governments are left to do what it ought to do. The state government takes it over and with the state government they're asked to do it. Then the federal government takes it over and then everybody complains that the federal government is trying to run everything. In this case the federal government of course is not trying to run everything it is trying very hard to keep
from having to run everything. The. Group W the Westinghouse Broadcasting Company has presented the pollution explosion a 10 part study of the increasing pollution of America's air and water. The series was produced by Robert Franklin written and recorded by Stephanie Shelton executive producer William J. Taylor. This is John Daley with a final reminder we can end these effluent days and exactly what we want if we want clean air clean water clean land they are all possible. To end the contamination of our environment. Will cost money but allowing this pollution to continue is costing more money. The industries which we
make possible as consumers and workers the officials we elect to run our cities and states and country as we want them run. These respond only when we are interested enough angry enough informed enough to make our wishes vociferous Lee and constantly known as you have heard in these programs. A good start has been made on pollution control and the money and new techniques needed to finish the job are becoming available. The final decision in this matter then rests as always in America with us. It's our country. We have a right to bury and stifle it with our waists. Or like the enlightened electorate we think we are. We have a right to spend our votes our money and our energies in reclaiming what has been lost. The anyon network has presented this program in cooperation with a group w o the
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Pollution explosion
Episode Number
Producing Organization
Westinghouse Broadcasting Company
Group W Productions
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program presents a variety of speeches, music clips, and commentary to analyze the pollution problem in the United States.
Other Description
A discussion of environment-related issues.
Media type
Host: Daly, John Charles, 1914-1991
Producing Organization: Westinghouse Broadcasting Company
Producing Organization: Group W Productions
Speaker: Johnson, Lyndon B. (Lyndon Baines), 1908-1973
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-8-10 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:28:18
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Chicago: “Pollution explosion; 10,” 1968-02-02, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed January 24, 2022,
MLA: “Pollution explosion; 10.” 1968-02-02. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. January 24, 2022. <>.
APA: Pollution explosion; 10. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from