The Impact of Industrial Revolution on the Environment

Editorials News | May-30-2024

The Impact of Industrial Revolution on the Environment

The Industrial Revolution that started at the end of the 18th century, with the nineteenth century being considered the most productive period for the Industrial Revolution, is one of the key periods in the entire history of human civilization. This period of bizarre industrialization and increasing ability dominated and ultimately changed societies worldwide. Still, it is imperative that pulling up the rate of development during the Industrial Revolution paved the way for unbolted economic progression and even enhanced quality of life; it came with effects that deeply, more often, negatively shook the environment. 

The Advent of Industrialization
Up to industrial revolution, the economic activities were mainly focused on agriculture, and most of the manufacturing done was done by hand with minimal use of machinery and was centralized. The change started with Britain and the truth was that machinery, factories, and mass production became the order of the day. Technological advances in the nineteenth century included the development of the steam engine, production machinery for textiles, and enhanced ironworking methods.

Environmental Degradation

Air Pollution
Another effect which instantly became demonstrative right after the beginning of the Industrial Revolution is the excessive rise of emission of black smoke let out into the atmosphere. Industries continued to employment of coal as one of their major energy inputs. It also caused a great deal of smoke and soot to be dispersed in the atmosphere; air quality standards greatly eroded. Places like Manchester and London had calves of smog that occurred due to industrial emissions, which affected health through respiratory illnesses, among other complications.

Water Pollution
These productive changes were neither beneficial to the industrial workforce nor the environment, but accompanied by severe water pollution. Dispersal of waste involved direct release of pollutants to rivers and stream common in industrial practices. Residual chemicals, heavy metals, and poisonous materials contaminated water sources thus affecting water quality and making freshwater sources unsafe for human use. However, it should be remembered that industrialization process, especially of the textile industry and the use of dyes and chemicals were major factors contributing to the degradation of water.

The governors' anxiety about producing more raw materials and energy sources made deforestation a common occurrence. People cut down trees to look for timber for construction, and for firewood and since the world population grew constantly, they needed more space for their growing cities and for their agriculture. This acted to deprive the region of its bountiful natural resources apart from endangering plant and animal species while negatively affecting the ecosystems by leading to soil erosion.

Long-term Environmental Impacts

Climate Change
Studies on climate change confirm that the Industrial Revolution period was the point at which human activity started influencing climate change. Burning of fossil fuels, which rose significantly with advancement in the cycles, emitted significant levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. This also worsened the greenhouse effect that precipitated global warming and climate change phenomena, which are presently experiencing worsening impacts.

Soil Degradation
Other historical impacts that are also related to the current issues include; Industrial agriculture that was developed during this period also posed severe impacts on the environment. Some of the green technologies that were applied include the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, which caused degrading of the soil fertility. They were responsible for accelerated loss of soil and decrease in capability for holding nutrients necessary for plant growth by farming intensely.

Social and Environmental Awareness
Less deserved were the growing realisation and the first sprouts of what we may term as environmentalism due to the effects of the Industrial Revolution on the environment. During the last quarter of the 19th and early twentieth century, the physical impacts of pollution and industrial waste astonishingly generated public outcry and the first regs. The environmental movements which sought for clean air and water, improved waste disposal as well as the protection of natural regions started appearing.

In conclusion, The Industrial Revolution is well known as a historic epoch that brought a lot of changes to human societies towards the progress. However, this progress came at a big price to the environment of our planet. At the cost of the environment of our planet, enormous progress has been recorded. Environmental damage caused by air and water pollution, deforestation, climate change, etc, is attributed to the industrialization period of this age. Analyze the outcomes of these impacts as we keep on looking for the way forward in the management of the environmental impacts we are experiencing today.

By : Parth Yadav
Anand School of Excellence

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