National Geographic : 1987 Jul
A "hotspot" of the Great Lakes, the Detroit River receives sewage effluent from scores of municipalities;its sediments contain hundreds of contaminants. One of a host of industrial complexes on the river, the GreatLakes Steel plant (left) belches steam; the firm has spent 150 million dollars in recent years to reduce toxic emissions, most of which are invisible. Environmentalissuesfigured in the job loss of GeorgeJohnson (top, at center). His em ployer, the Reserve Mining Company of Silver Bay, Minnesota,closed after it was forced to stop offshore dumping of tailingsthat left a carpet of carcinogenicasbestos fibers in west ern Lake Superior.His sons Scott and Rick and brotherRoger are also looking for work. In eightyears Michigan has had a loss of al most 20 percent in its autoworkers. Undera joint programof FordMotor Company and the United Auto Workers, Dearbornassembly plant employees like Ernest Travick (above) learn new skills to enhance theirfutures.