Ch-3 the industrial city (refers to City Hall of Dreadful night)
Pollution in industrial cities:
- Economic foundation of cities were coalmine, increased production of iron, use of
stead, reliable mechanical power – the steam engine.
- Coal replaced wood; mines were built to extract coal and iron. Coal, iron, lumber
and petroleum – abundant raw materials.
- Factory system encouraged centralization of production in cities – near sources of
raw material, sufficient labor force and sizable markets – increased urban
population and pollution.
- Advent of industrial economy and specialized labor – resulted in health risks –
laborers exposed to chemicals all day, potters/miners poisoned with toxic metals –
mercury, lead, arsenic
- High density, high mortality, high death rate of children – causes were poor
housing, lack of sanitation, clean water, poor diet, endemic diseases – in short,
deterioration of water, land and air
Water pollution in city:
- Water is critical element in production and manufacturing, ingredient for process
and convenient dumping ground for industries
- Cities faced 2 pressing water issues: water quality and locating sufficient water
- -Originates from 2 main sources: residential (human, animal waste – organic
compounds) and commercial (factories, businesses – inorganic compounds such
as plastics, dioxins and heavy metals)
- Factories usually located by river/bays – needed large quantities of water for
production purposes, steam boilers, to cool engines, making and disposing of
chemical and dyes – water once used, dumped back into sewers, became open
- Human wastes used to be dumped into water but sometimes simply put onto
lands, leached into ground and polluted fresh, underground drinking water nearby
wells, ponds, streams and rivers.
- Population increase in cities outgrew water supply – shortage of clean, drinking
water and bathing, cooking.
- New pollutants discarded on land. Factories sought easiest way of disposal of
non-liquid wastes like garbage, ashes, scrap metals and slag formed upon iron
smelting, etc. disposed open or in vacant lots around city
- All in street including urine, feces, animal dung, wealthy residents could afford to
get waste collected else piles up for weeks at end of street corner and then dump
loads at sea.
- Horses were principle cause of dirty streets – too much increased population,
became primary form of transportation for both people and goods, pulling
wagons, trolleys, and horse cars. Issues came – horse discharged 7 times more
urine than humans, 20 times more manure each day. Rain could turn street into pee pools of horses, used to get killed while generating stench due to attracting
flies, causing diseases, noxious odors and noise. Difficult for horse – whipped and
abused, hauling heavy loads, die sooner than normal.
- Smoke lowering down from chimneys, burning soft coal and winter “fogs” –
deaths of many in London
- 2 types of coal – soft coal (bituminous) – high in sulfur, earlier were used in
plenty of amount. Second – anthracite coal, hard burning but burns more cleanly
- Burned coal left its mark on buildings, on laundry and in lungs of people. Air
pollutants from industrial cities included soot from smokestacks and locomotives,
belched chemicals – chlorine, ammonia, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, acid,
- Concerns were there but were regarded as nuisance, 2 reasons:
o Unable to link smoke with health problem even though color of buildings
and clothes were changing. Unlike water pollution, where effects were
straight leading to diseases, air pollution effects were “hidden”
o Smoke was equated with progress, growth, jobs and prosperity of
economy of city
Reforms in industrial city:
Industrial city growth meant progress – consequences:
o Short-term: due to environmental pollution – malfunction of bones due to
lack of sunshine and poor diet, skin disease from dirty water, fever, small
pox spread due to dirt, human excrement in land/water, bad diet and over
o Long term: long term exposure to pollutants and chemicals – many
accepted env degradation as price for economic growth
Cholera epidemic in London in 1830/40 sparked reform, established Law of
Purification before 1880’s: “clean” meant if observer could touch, taste, smell or
see with naked eye, its not clean. If water was clear, odorless, tasteless, it was
pure. Moving water thought to quickly dilute pollutants, so harmless discharge –
“what you see if what you get”, lasted only until population was small.
Low population, human discharge used to be organic, large body of water was
able to purify small quantities of pollutants; increase in population failed this law.
Cities with diseases, lack of clean water, etc started losing their business to clean
environment cities, also caused cities to pay attention to clean th