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Earth Day highlights perils to environment

By United Press International

Americans joined forces today in an effort to clean the earth and the air around it.

There were demonstrations, bizarre and pragmatic, teach-ins, teach-outs, parades, lectures, speeches, music, litter pickups.

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In Omaha, Neb., there was not a gas mask to be had because all were sold out in preparation for today's Earth Day demonstrations.

"Save the Environment," "Give Earth A Chance," and hundreds of other campaigns spread into virtually every corner of the nation as people urged themselves and others toward a new respect for their environment.

At the White House, President Nixon welcomed the day's events, saying he "feels the activities show the concern of people of all walks of life over the dangers to our environment."

Allen H. Seed Jr., executive vice president of Keep American Beautiful Inc., said Earth Day enthusiasm is giving America its most thorough cleanup in history.

Plans for the day ranged from the bizarre to simple pick-up-the-litter drives and "fresh air" dispensers in New York City, where rallies and parades were held.

Skywriting planes were to inscribe the word "air" in the atmosphere over Los Angeles.

Southeast Missouri State students planned a mock funeral to "symbolically bury the earth under a pile of trash." Miami citizens scheduled a "dead orange parade" with a prize for the "most polluted float."

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The Michigan house approved by a 98-3 vote a bill which would give private citizens the unprecedented right to take legal action against polluters.

Rep. James G. O'Hara (D-Mich.) announced he will introduce legislation to refuse federal contracts to firms which do not comply with pollution regulation. He said he is also asking President Nixon to order payments withheld on two present contracts with firms allegedly polluting the Great Lakes.

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