New podcast episode: Water Pollution in the Northern Netherlands, 1850-1980
New podcast episode: Water Pollution in the Northern Netherlands, 1850-1980.
In the mid-19th century the Groningen Peat Colonies (Veenkoloniën) in the Northern Netherlands developed into a centre of strawboard and potato starch production.
The number of factories increased to 36 by 1900.
These industries brought jobs but also water pollution and stench caused by the release of thousands of cubic metres of waste water into the canals.
For most of the 20th century pollution was not an issue but the industry believed that large amounts of useful substances were “wasted” by dumping it with the waste water into water courses.
Experiments were set up to extract minerals and other substances for the production of fodder or fertiliser.
None of these efforts resulted in solving the water pollution problem of the Groningen Peat Colonies.
The pollution persisted until the latter quarter of the 20th century.
Episode 76 of Exploring Environmental History investigates the origins and extent of the water pollution in Groningen and why it took more than a century before the problem was solved.
It will highlight why the early experiments failed and the consequences of this for water quality in the province of Groningen.