The Cuyahoga River Fire of 1969

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The Northern Ohio Cuyahoga river which empties into Lake Erie, has had a long history of human abuse. It has been polluted for many years, and in 1936 it caught fire because of a few sparks from a blow torch. Following this were many more fires including a major one causing massive destruction in 1952. In the 1960's the river was used by industry as a waste ground, where oil, chemicals, garbage and debris, sludge, and sewage were dumped into the river. This led to a highly controversial and influential fire in 1969.

The Cuyahoga river fire of 1969 caused a lot of self reflection on how we treat our environment, bringing attention to environmental protection. Contributiong to the environmental revolution in the 1970's, it directly caused the Clean Water Act. It also led to the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, an agreement between the U.S and Canada to help clean up the Great Lakes Basin.


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Works Cited

"Great Lakes Areas of Concerns (AoCs): Cuyahoga River | Great Lakes | US EPA." US Environmental Protection Agency. EPA. Web. 15 Feb. 2011. <>.