(WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – The Cuyahoga River in northeast Ohio is an infamous example of toxic waste polluting the industrial heartland. This once pristine waterway became a dumping ground for industrial waste, guaranteeing that almost no life could survive in the thick, murky water.

Oily debris floating on the Cuyahoga caught fire at least a dozen times and it wasn’t the only one. Other industrial rivers in the US experienced the same. After Time published an article about the burning of the Cuyahoga River in 1969, the polluted river became a poster child for the environmental movement.

This helped bring about legislation such as the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement and the Clean Water Act of the early 1970s.