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As historian Martin Melosi notes, The generation that first saw automobiles replacing the horses saw cars as "miracles of cleanliness.".Other cities followed around the country until early in the 20th century, when the short lived Office of Air Pollution was created under the Department of the Interior.Reformers began to demand sewer systems and clean water."Waste-water from the houses collected in the gutters running alongside the curbs and emitted a truly fearsome smell.
Pollution began to draw major public attention in the United States between the mid-1950s and early 1970s, when Congress passed the Noise Control Act, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act.
Severe incidents of pollution helped increase consciousness.
Extreme smog events were experienced by the cities of Los Angeles and Donora, Pennsylvania in the late 1940s, serving as another public reminder.
Air pollution would continue to be a problem in England, especially later during the industrial revolution, and extending into the recent past with the Great Smog of 1952.
Pollution can take the form of chemical substances or energy, such as noise, heat or light.
Pollutants, the components of pollution, can be either foreign substances/energies or naturally occurring contaminants.
Lake Karachay – named by the Worldwatch Institute as the "most polluted spot" on earth – served as a disposal site for the Soviet Union throughout the 1950s and 1960s.
Chelyabinsk, Russia, is considered the "Most polluted place on the planet".
The pollution of industrial land gave rise to the name brownfield, a term now common in city planning.
The development of nuclear science introduced radioactive contamination, which can remain lethally radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years.