Most cities grew and developed at the expense to the environment. Natural features were cleared to make space for factories, houses, business, schools, etc.
The development of industrial factories also had its harmful effects on the environment. The black emission from the factories was and still is a major source of air pollution. Urban development led to air, water and noise pollution, which became a regular feature of urban life.
Cities such as Leeds, Bradford and Manchester became covered with thick black fog or smog due to release of smoke from factory chimneys throughout the day. This smog posed serious health and environmental problems. Laws like the Smoke Abatement Acts were unsuccessful in controlling the pollution.
Although people campaigned for cleaner air, businesses were unwilling to invest in technology that would improve their machines and reduce pollution. Calcutta had thick fog from its marshes mixed with smoke emanating from household fuel of burnt dung and wood that was used as fuel in daily lives. In 1863, Calcutta became the first Indian city to get smoke nuisance legislation.