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Pollution Patrol: Special Teachers’ Guide

Pollution Patrol: Special Teachers’ Guide

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Pollution Patrol: Special Teachers’ Guide
Pollution Patrol: Special Teachers’ Guide

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Published by: CT River Coastal Conservation District on Jul 12, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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This discussion guide and DVD are drawn from the PBSFRONTLINE investigative report, POISONED WATERSwith Hedrick Smith as correspondent. In that program,we showed the kinds of pollution now contaminating America’s waterways, political obstacles blockingrestoration of great estuaries like Chesapeake Bay andPuget Sound, and some local strategies that havescored successes.We have designed this kit to stimulate public discussionof effective techniques and crucial issues of educationalreform. It is intended for teachers, parents, principals, administrators and anyoneinterested in improving public schools.
How To Use This Guide
This guide can be used either with a DVD of the two-hour documentary, POISONEDWATERS, or with the special DVD clip reel of program excerpts.The guide is broken into several sections. On pages 1 and 22, you’ll find a descriptionof the main elements of the program. Pages 2-21 set out ten topics for discussion,selected to highlight important issues in protecting our waters. For example, stormwaterrunoff, agricultural pollution, new chemical contaminants, how grass-roots action canforce a Superfund cleanup or control development. Each topic is covered by a two-pagewrite-up and suggested questions.A matching video segment illustrates the issue.Select a topic and read the summary.Watch the matching segment on the DVD ofexcerpts. If you have a DVD of the full program or a special DVD that containsadditional Puget segments, the DVD is chaptered to make it easy for you to locateeach video segment. After reading the topic write-up and viewing the matching video clip, you can then readand discuss the related questions with your group.We hope the discussion and thisprogram generate new ideas for effective environmental protection in your community.Hedrick Smith
Photo by: Susan Zox
When Congress passed the Clean Water Act in 1972, it called for America’swaterways to be swimmable and fishableagain by 1983. But our great waterwaysare still in peril and they face new wavesof pollution.“I would put Puget Sound inthe intensive care unit — the situation iscritical,” asserts Kathy Fletcher, executivedirector of People for Puget Sound.TheChesapeake Bay gets a flunking gradeevery year in a report card compiled byenvironmentalists and scientists.Much the same, experts tell us, could besaid about the Florida Everglades, GreatLakes, Gulf of Mexico, San Francisco Bay,or America’s great rivers.“There is noquestion that the condition of theChesapeake Bay is like the canary in thecoal mine,” asserts Will Baker, presidentof the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.“It isa symbol, an indicator of what we arenow learning to expect in any body ofwater nationwide and across the planet.”The danger signs are everywhere —dead zones doubling in size every decadearound the globe; Orca whales in PugetSound, dying at a young age andweakened by contaminating chemicalslike PCBs; scientists discovering signs ofsexual mutations in the male fish in thePotomac River; public health expertswarning of serious health problems forhumans like a rising risk of breast canceramong women, lower sperm countamong men and weird distortions in theurinary tracts of newborn babies.For a decade or so after the CleanWater Act, tough enforcement by theEnvironmental Protection Agency madesignificant gains against smog in theskies, algae in our rivers and humanwaste in our big cities.The EPA sued bigindustrial polluters. It forced cities toupgrade outdated wastewater treatmentplants. It launched Superfund cleanupsof the nation’s worst industrial sites thatwere poisoned by legacy chemicals fromthe post-World War II era. By targeting“point-source pollution” — pollutioncoming out of a pipe — the EPA repairedsome of the worst damage.But the challenge today is more complex,largely because today’s pollution is nearly
The Challenge of “Poisoned Waters”
continued on page 22 
Photo by: Susan Zox

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