There was a time in New York’s history when people could touch the air and nobody would want to put their feet in most of the waterways. Before the great clean-up began, New York had abandoned blocks dotted the landscape, creating vast areas absent of urban cohesion and life itself during the 1970s. The fastest-growing cause of death in New York during the 1960s was pulmonary emphysema. There were ashes and tiny particles of scraps and garbage from incinerated garbage. Many power plants in the city were fueled with coal and heavy grades of oil, which led to noxious emissions.
The Environmental Protection Agency was created to clean the environment, before the clean-up the agency hired freelancer photographs to document the dirty and polluted city streets. This project was named “Documerica project”.
Here below are some photos from the Documerica project that show how dirty and polluted New York City was in the 1970s.