Thousands of people plan to gather in Cleveland tomorrow to mark the 50th anniversary of a fire that sparked a nationwide environmental movement. Jeff Glor, the new co-host of "CBS This Morning Saturday," went back to Ohio to examine what happened after the heavily-polluted Cuyahoga River started burning.
Saturday will mark 50 years since June 22, 1969 – the last time the river burned. At that time, Bill Skowronski was just a kid out of college, and a member of the fledgling Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
"You can probably name just about any liquid chemical and it was being dumped in the river," Skowronski said. "So you'd have oil, gasoline, kerosene, acids, caustic materials."
For more than 100 years, the waterways were waste receptacles. The churn of factories won wars and propelled an American century, but the bills came due in the late '60s and early '70s, after an embarrassing series of river fires across the rust belt.
Those fires, including the Cuyahoga River fire, ended up leading to the National Environmental Policy Act -- the first muscular national environmental law. On Saturday, Glor will discuss the changes that have been made throughout Cleveland and the rust belt in the decades since the iconic fires.