During the Industrial Revolution, most of the manufacturing factories were located near rivers and canals. This meant that water availability was plentiful, wastes could be discharged to the water bodies mostly without any treatment, and waterways could be used to transport raw materials to the plants and then ship out manufactured outputs.
As urbanisation progressed and industrial activities increased, rivers like the Thames in England became progressively heavily contaminated with domestic and industrial wastes, so much so that over time, aquatic life was decimated. In fact, by 1858, the stench from the sewage was so bad that the Parliamentary sittings of the House of Commons had to be suspended, and this period is now referred to as the “Great Stink.”
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