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A British expert in 1906 concluded that Berlin represented "the most complete application of science, order and method of public life," adding "it is a marvel of civic administration, the most modern and most perfectly organized city that there is." The emergence of great factories and consumption of immense quantities of coal gave rise to unprecedented air pollution and the large volume of industrial chemical discharges added to the growing load of untreated human waste.
Core samples of glaciers in Greenland indicate increases in pollution associated with Greek, Roman, and Chinese metal production.
The burning of coal and wood, and the presence of many horses in concentrated areas made the cities the primary sources of pollution.
It was the industrial revolution that gave birth to environmental pollution as we know it today.
London also recorded one of the earlier extreme cases of water quality problems with the Great Stink on the Thames of 1858, which led to construction of the London sewerage system soon afterward.
Since the 1950s, environmental medicine has been discussed more frequently through a greater awareness in public health and preventive medicine; although today, there is now a focus on occupational medicine.
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Environmental and occupational medicine are however more commonly viewed as an integrated subject, with emphasis given to industrial issues.
In 2015, pollution killed 9 million people in the world.
Major forms of pollution include: Air pollution, light pollution, littering, noise pollution, plastic pollution, soil contamination, radioactive contamination, thermal pollution, visual pollution, water pollution.
Certainly, pollution problems have been recognized in the distant past but were more easily mitigated by nature due to the limited complexity of the pollutant, its degradability (e.g.
biodegradable organics) and lower industrialization. Health-related effects from environmental pollution have been well known, but were not fully realized until highly notable events like the Donora (Pennsylvania) smog occurrence in 1948 resulting in later public health programs including in their training a discussion of environmental medicine.