Where did the water pollution start?

Industrial revolution and pollution

In the course of its developmental history, humans have mostly paid little attention to their environment. Some animals were hunted until they became extinct. When the cultivated land no longer yielded anything, the farmers moved on and cleared new land for arable farming. Whole areas were cleared for construction and firewood. Untreated sewage was discharged into rivers and seas, chemicals polluted the waters for generations.

Pre-industrial smoke gas damage

A massive environmental problem that did not arise with industrialization was air pollution. So-called smoke gas, which was emitted while working in iron, metal or copper works, caused damage to the surrounding trees. In addition, the emissions polluted the air close to the huts.

The first environmental dispute broke out in 1802 at the Bamberg glassworks, which was to be built on a pasture near a clinic. Bamberg citizens wrote to the authorities. They wanted to prevent the settlement of the hut - the beautiful nature, so it was said in the letter, should not be ruined.

The citizens were supported by two doctors who feared that the smoke could lead to respiratory diseases in residents and hospital patients. But the protesters could not prevail, the hut was built. A few years later, however, it was relocated.

The industrial environmental disaster

With industrialization, energy consumption rose sharply, especially from the beginning of the 19th century. The increased production of iron and steel as well as the construction of machines required enormous amounts of coal, the combustion of which polluted the air. Especially in the metropolitan areas it was difficult to breathe, the air was full of smoke, and toxic sulfur dioxide compounds led to the death of forests on a large scale.

Even water and soil were permanently damaged during industrialization. Sewage water, toxic chemicals, fertilizers and other industrial wastewater ended up in the rivers and contaminated them so badly that the often colored water became inedible. The soils around industrial settlements were contaminated with lead, cadmium, mercury and other poisons, contaminated sites from the factories did the rest.

Rising populations pollute nature

Industrialization was accompanied by enormous population growth, which meant that cities in particular grew rapidly. New housing estates had to be built, ever larger areas of land were sealed, which contributed to the lowering of the water table.

The volume of traffic also increased rapidly. People had to make a pilgrimage from their homes to work, but above all goods had to be transported as quickly as possible over long distances. Railways were built through the landscape and rivers straightened.

The contemporaries of the 19th century were already aware that the destruction of nature would cause considerable problems - but this belief has not been of much use to this day.