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Industrialization: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Industrialization, the wide-scale development of industries in a country or region, by which an agrarian society transforms into an economy based on the manufacturing of goods. To put it simply, it is the transition from manual labour to mechanized mass production. In its scale, scope, and complexity, the industrial revolution is unlike anything, bringing forth new machines, new power sources, and new ways of organizing work.

It is undeniable that the Industrial Revolution paved the way for the creation of new opportunities. It played a critical role in global economic development​. Cities flourished as people relocated in search of new jobs, thus, increasing urbanization. More goods were produced in relatively less time and for a cheaper price. This allowed people to purchase products they could never afford before. Industrialization was also able to include a more efficient division of labour, and the use of technological innovation to help solve problems. Many of the comforts we enjoy today are dependent upon machines, technology undoubtedly becoming an integral part of our lives. Industrialization may have brought economic prosperity, but at what cost? With booming industrial growth and relatively low landmass, the environment's long-term viability is now becoming a major factor in the industrial development process.

Our planet is on the brink of a severe environmental crisis. Industrialization has brought irreversible consequences on human health and wildlife, as it pushes the environmental impacts closer to the threshold limits of tolerance. As evident, one of the negative effects of industrialization is land degradation. Due to urban sprawls, more land is needed to be cleared to accommodate growing communities. To build infrastructure, strip mines, and gravel pits, forests are destroyed and biodiversity is lost. An increase in population also results in proliferating pollution as more vehicles, agricultural activities, mining operations, shipping industries, and factories are built to keep up with the growing demand. As the combustion of coal takes place within these factories, sulfur dioxide is formed, the main component of acid rain. As a result, soil erosion prevails and the fertility of the land continues to degrade. On the other hand, exposure to soot and nitrogen oxide emissions, both of which are byproducts of fossil fuel combustion, are risk factors of chronic respiratory diseases.

In addition, the issue of child labour, a social change triggered during the industrial revolution, continues to persist. The lack of quality control and safety protoco