A few politicians teamed up with environmental advocates this week in Washington, D.C., to bring attention to the deplorable condition of the Anacostia River.

Environmental activists and scientists joined former U.S. Sen. Joe Tydings and Maryland state Sen. Paul Pinsky (D-Prince Georges County) in jumping into the Anacostia in Bladensburg, Md., to mark an unsuccessful anniversary. According to dcist.com, taking the plunge was a way to “raise awareness about the failures to meet the July 1, 1983, deadline set by the Clean Water Act for waterways to be made swimmable and fishable.”

It doesn't take an expert to figure out that the deadline has come and gone, gone, gone. Twenty-eight years later, America’s rivers are not in great shape, and the Anacostia is no exception.

"Clearly, measures undertaken to restore the Anacostia to a swimmable level have failed miserably," said Pinsky.

Measures to draw attention to the plight of rivers in North America have been growing in recent years. On July 25, 2003, Mimi Hughes achieved her goal of swimming the entire length of the Tennessee River to raise public awareness about the river’s polluted condition. For those keeping track, that’s a total of 652 miles of swimming.

North of the border, Canadian politician and environmental activist Fin Donnelly has made a name for himself by swimming the 1,400 kilometers of the Fraser River, British Columbia's longest river, to raise awareness of water pollution up North.

So there's the moral of the story: if you can’t clean it, swim it. It may lead some people to learn more about the condition of their rivers. At the very least it may get their name in a blog post. 

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