Industrial began in Great Britain, many of the


Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new
manufacturing processes in the period from roughly 1760 to between 1820 and
1840.  This meant going from hand
production methods to machine production, new manufacturing and iron
production, the increasing use of steam power, the development of machine
tools, and the rise of the factory system. 
One of the many causes of the Industrial Revolution was technological
innovation (the key enabling technology was the invention and improvement of the
steam engine) and the presence of a large domestic market. The Industrial
Revolution began in Great Britain, many of the technological innovations were
British.  The development of trade and
the rise of business were also major causes of the Industrial Revolution.  This development marks a major turning point
in history and influenced every aspect of daily life.  Despite this turning point, there were major
issues related to the environment, you will learn about the environmentally
negative impacts caused by the Industrial Revolution, how those impacts changed
the environmental movement on the process of industrialization, the laws passed
to help ameliorate the environmental issues, and whether the state of the
environment has become worse or has improved because of these laws with some
suggestions to improve the environmental situation.


Ecology and Environmental
Sustainability in the Industrial Revolution

Innovations in
machinery, methods, and techniques of producing goods created during the
Industrial Revolution a better way of life. 
More goods were able to be produced in a shorter amount of time, thanks
to the advancement of architecture, agriculture, transportation, and
communication.  The enhancements of
technology improved the quality of life; however, it has its drawbacks. The Industrial Revolution has had many negative
impacts on the environment.  One of the
negative impacts is pollution. 
Factories, cars, and aircrafts produce
air pollution to some advanced cities in the world.  Chemicals that weren’t properly disposed of causes water and land
pollution.  Acid rain was first
discovered in the 1850s, which was another problem due to the coal-powered
plants.  Human-produced sulfur and
nitrogen compounds released into the atmosphere negatively impacted plants,
fish, soil, forests, and some building materials.  Water pollution is another negative impact of
the Industrial Revolution. It intensified with the development of the
Industrial Revolution when factories released pollutants directly into rivers,
streams, and other bodies of water.  As
much as 70% of industrial waste is just dumped untreated into the earth’s
bodies of water.  Not only water and air
pollution were negative impacts of the Industrial Revolution, but also child
labor.  Child labor was very important to
the new and developing factories, mines, and mills.  As new technology took the place of skilled
workers, factory owners used cheap labor to decrease the cost of
production.  Unfortunately, child labor
was the cheapest labor around.  Squeezing
into small places was easier for children rather than adults.  Children also didn’t go on strike so that was
a benefit for the factory owners.  This
factory work had a negative effect on the health of the children.  As doctor Turner Thackrah described “The
children leaving the Manchester cotton mills were almost universally
ill-looking, small, sickly, barefoot, and ill-clad” (Chris Trueman. Resubmitted
2011.  Paragraph 3-4). Most of the
children working in these factories didn’t look any older than seven years old.

Air pollution had a serious health impact on the residents
of growing urban centers during the Industrial Revolution.  In the Great Smog of 1952, pollution from
factories and home fireplaces mixed with air condensation killed at least 4,000
people over the course of several days. 
In 1948, severe industrial air pollution created a deadly smog that
asphyxiated 20 people in Pennsylvania and made roughly 7,000 more sick. In
1963, to try and reduce air pollution, the U.S. Congress passed the Clean Air
Act, legislation which has been amended and strengthened in the ensuing
decades. However, in 2007, 46% of all Americans resided in counties with
unhealthy levels of either ozone or particle pollution, according to the
American Lung Association (ALA). 
Describe by the ALA, “smog is an irritating, invisible gas that is
formed most often by a reaction of sunlight and vapors emitted when fuel is
burned by cars and trucks, factories, power plants, and other sources.  The ozone oxidizes with internal body tissues
that it meets, such as those in the lung”.  
It irritates the respiratory tract and can lead to many health problems
including asthma, chest pain, and even death.  
Just like air, water has been impacted by
numerous types of pollution.  Some towns
were equipped with drainage systems early on, however, they did not improve
sanitation.  The poor construction of the
drainage systems caused the streets to flood with waste during inclement
weather.  Which led to the development of
the Bath Act in 1757, that is a law that
required all buildings built from 1758 and then on, to be equipped with
downpipes that brought the water from the roof to the ground to make the
drainage system more effective and reduce flooding of sewage.  Cholera was a deadly disease that flourished
during industrialization and was one of the most widespread diseases of its
time.  Cholera is a contagious diarrheal
disease brought on by bacterial infection
of the intestine that is spread through fecal matter, typically in water. In
1972, Congress passed the Clean Water Act to reduce water pollution.  As the factories increased, the demand for
cheap laborers increased extensively.    

Therefore, factory owners sought after child laborers
because they were the cheapest workers around. 
In 1789, Richard Arkwright’s new spinning factory was staffed by a
majority of children. Factories were very dangerous especially for children,
not just because of the heavy-duty
machinery; but also because of the negative effects on the health of the
children. In the 1830s, the British Parliament began investigating the
conditions in factories for children. 
Michael Sadler (Member of Parliament), started a committee in 1832 to
send investigators out to factories to interview children and gather evidence
about their working conditions.  He also
tried to pass a bill to decrease child labor and regulate all factories to have
a 10-hour work day.  Which child labor
laws are still in effect today in most countries.  Working in industrial cities influenced
people’s lives outside of the factories as well.  The Industrial Revolution had a huge impact
on people outside of factories due to the air pollution, water pollution, and
many other negative impacts.  Due to the
air and water pollution, factory worker’s families still felt the impacts of
the industrialization even if they didn’t work in the factories.       

Factories, like stated above, dumped hazardous chemicals
into the nearest bodies of water.  These
hazardous chemicals caused many health issues such as, cholera, tuberculosis,
typhus, typhoid, and influenza, which ravaged thought industrial towns.  In 1849, 10,000 people died of cholera in
three months. Tuberculosis claimed 60,000 to 70,000 lives in each decade of the
19th century.  Poor nutrition,
disease, lack of sanitation, and harmful medical care in these urban areas had
a devastating effect on the average life expectancy in the first half of the 19th
century. Finally, by 1899, 28 states had passed laws regulating child
labor.  The U.S. Congress passed two
laws, in 1918 and 1922, but the supreme court declared both
unconstitutional.  In 1924, Congress
proposed a constitutional amendment prohibiting child labor, but the states did
not ratify it.  In 1938, Congress passed the
Fair Labor Standards Act. It fixed minimum ages of 16 for work during school
hours, 14 for certain jobs after school, and 18 for dangerous work.  Today federal law regulates the child labor
laws.  These laws have cured the worst
evils of children working in factories. 
The laws that have been passed have been very effective because
nowadays, cars can only be driven if they have a catalytic convertor. A
catalytic convertor helps to convert carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide.  This improves the environment by eliminating
pollution, anything helps.  According to, the ozone layer is improving due to the chemical ban.  The chemicals that destroy the ozone increase
in the presence of light (sun).  It was
confirmed that the declining levels of chlorine and bromine were responsible
for the longer-term healing trend.  It
significant to know about the Industrialization hazards because it corrupts our
environment and could also deplete human and animal health.

For more than forty-five years the Clean Air Act has cut
pollution as the U.S. economy has grown.  
This has reduced levels of six common pollutants; particles, ozone,
lead, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide, as well as
numerous toxic pollutants. The emissions reductions have led to incredible
improvements in the quality of air that we breathe.   A key
reason is that the motor vehicle fleet is much cleaner because of the Clean Air
Act emissions standards for new motor vehicles. 
The air quality improvements have made many areas of the country to meet
national air quality standards set to protect health and the environment. Due
to the Act, Americans breathe less pollution and face lower risks of premature
death and other serious health effects. 
Lower air pollution levels mean less damage to the health of ecosystems.  New power plants and factories use modern
pollution control technology.  Power
plants have also cut emissions that cause acid rain and harm public
health.  A great idea to reduce water
pollution is to use less fertilizer on your lawn.  When it rains, excess fertilizer runs off
into storm sewers and pollutes streams, lakes, and/or rivers.  Watering your lawn early in the morning will
give the water time to soak in before it evaporates in the heat of the
day.  Some other ideas to improve air
pollution would be to conserve energy. 
This will improve your bills and help avoid peak demands on utility
plants.  Another great idea is to plant
trees, trees absorb carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.  Making donations to charitable organizations
of wearable clothing, books, etc., will keep it out of our landfills.  Recycle! Recycle!




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Eric Hand. (June 30, 2016). Ozone layer on the mend, thanks
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