Environmental Issues and the Industrial Revolution

Assignment Instructions

The Industrial Revolution, which began in the eighteenth century, has had an ongoing influence on society as well as the relationship between humans and their environment. With the onset of industrialization came the drastic increase in urbanization, setting up of factories in places which were once biomes, and the rapid development of land. All this occurred without assessing the long-term impact to the environment. Recognizing the importance of the Industrial Revolution era and the ongoing impact it has had on the environment is essential to learning how to help the environment and correct the damage of that era.

Using the readings for this module, the Argosy University online library resources, and the Internet, complete the following:

  • Identify three of the most environmentally negative impacts of the Industrial Revolution and justify your choices. For example, the invention of the automobile revolutionized travel in a positive manner. However, this invention is causing some of the biggest environmental problems as a result of the extensive use of oil extracted from the earth.
  • Examine how these three negative impacts changed the environment; list the mechanisms through which this happened. For example, factories caused an increase in pollution through the release of toxic waste, which led to diminished and lost fish populations in rivers.
  • Explain the effect of the environmental movement on the process of industrialization in the United States during the 1970s.
  • Identify the laws passed to help ameliorate the environmental issues in the U.S. or around the world related to these three impacts. Have any laws been passed since this movement in the 1970s? If there have been laws implemented, summarize the spirit of the law and comment on the effectiveness of the law.
  • Based on your research, examine whether the state of the environment has become worse or has improved as a result of these laws. If you think conditions have not improved, suggest solutions or steps that must be done to improve the situation.

Support your statements with appropriate examples and scholarly references. Be sure to include an additional page for references.

Sample Answer -Environmental Issues and the Industrial Revolution

Industrial revolution is a phenomenon that came into existence during the eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries. Its introduction however, created a lot of negative impacts especially on the environment. One of the factors that caused the pollution was the introduction of the steam engine as well as other technological advances that were primarily used for the production of goods during that time. During that time, the production of goods was majorly practiced on a small scale but it later changed to a large scale where the production process begun to shift to large scale through the factories. The shift further moved from the medium sized factories to the large scale industrial factories. Furthermore, there were better and efficient inventions that were introduced in the manufacture of cotton within the textile industry. That particular invention resulted in an increase in the number of mills that were established within England alone. The mills later on shifted their base from England to the new markets in the United States.

Since the population was also growing at that time, the capitalists decided to transfer their manufacturing from their original sites where they basically used the naturally flowing rivers to run their plants. The capitalists instead preferred transferring the plants to the urban areas where there was plenty of available labour force. That transfer resulted in an increase in pollution, most probably due to the industrialized nature of the cities where the relocation took place. Moreover, pollution levels might have increased because of the artificial method of production through the use of coal . Initially, the production process was through the use of natural power of the fast running rivers that were used to produce energy.

There was so much evidence during the early period to show industrial revolution had come with so much negative effects especially in the European continent. In his opinion, Adam Markham described the events as “veritable witches cauldron of industrial pollution.”. The scientific researches that were done during that time were able to reveal that there was a high level of mercury concentration on human hair than had ever been noticed before. Similarly, that period also saw the introduction of motor vehicles that resulted in an excess emission of green house gases into the atmosphere. The emission was considered to be harmful to the environment since it increased the level of global warming which is still the case upto date. The U.S congress has since tried to pass legislation on the reduction of emission of harmful gases into the atmosphere. The legislation was finally passed in the year 1963 with a lot of amendments done on it on several occasions. When vehicles emit the vapour into the atmosphere, the sunlight reacts with that vapour to form ozone layer. Proves are there that shows that the ozone layer reacts chemically with some parts of the body tissues especially the human lung. Such a reaction results in the irritation of the respiratory track of human beings thereby resulting in contraction of certain diseases such as asthma and even acute chest pains.

Another form of pollution comes from the diesel emitted from factories, chemicals from the factories as well as metals by-products. Such waste products are known to create both soil and water pollution. The dangers of breathing in such polluted air are that one risks a reduction in their lifespan by a period of between one to three years. Moreover, such polluted air can also cause problems to women especially during their pregnancy period. In some cases, it can result in the women giving birth to premature babies. Additionally, one can also experience a number of respiratory complications due to breathing such polluted air. People who get affected are most likely to experience asthma attacks, coughing, wheezing of the chest and even other forms of respiratory irritations. In severe cases, it can result in heart attacks, irregular heartbeats and in some cases even result in premature deaths.

Water pollution is also one of the major problems that escalated as a result of the introduction of industrial revolution. Factories, either knowingly or unknowingly began releasing their pollutants directly into the rivers and streams where people use to get their water from. As a result of such actions by the factories, the water catchment areas became contaminated with such emissions. Additionally, raw sewage emissions also escalated the problems since people  sources of drinking water got contaminated thereby leading to the outbreak of a number of diseases including cholera and typhoid (Koth and William, 2012). Estimates show that over one billion people all over the world today lack access to clean and safe water, thereby putting them at risk of death. The number of children who die from water related diseases across the world has always been on the rise year in year out.

A good example of the water pollution cases is what took place in the year 1969 when Ohio’s Cuyahoga River busted into flames as a result of the chemicals that were released into that river. It was a good example to show that the industrial pollution was damaging the American natural resources (Martin, 1980). In the current times, the most affected countries across the world are china that has more than seventy percent of its lakes polluted due to industrial emissions. Estimates indicate that more than three million people in China are forced to use the polluted water for the daily survival. It therefore means that the Chinese people are at a higher risk of contracting waterborne diseases.

Apart from that, water has been polluted from the effects of constructions that are undertaken in countries day after day. Additionally, the mining industries also play a role in the water pollution process. Then there is also the case of releasing farm wastes into the rivers that end up polluting such destinations. Water pollution is such a serious problem in the planet earth, even though it does not get the seriousness that it deserves. Between the year 1832 and 1834 alone, more than fifty seven thousand people died in Great Britain as a result of consuming contaminated water from the rivers. As a result of that they contracted cholera disease that spread so fast within a short span of time. Apart from that, there is also the problem of people using acid rain water that can cause a number of problems. Acid rain is formed as a result of vapour mixing and reacting with the emissions from the coal-powered plants.

The introduction of the rail system was quite important for the transport network across Europe and more so within urban centres. The railway system was used in the transportation of coal and other natural resources that were produced in specific countries. The only problem that came with the introduction of rail system is that it cause a lot of noise and air pollution. The amount of carbon monoxide that the trains emitted in to the air was so much and it was one of the factors that resulted in the global warming menace. Another source of noise pollution came from the iron works firms and the cotton mills that that was located in the urban centres. The cotton mills had several noisy steam engines that were powered by water. The amount of noise produced by such machines could even cause one to become deaf.

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