King Edward I of England banned the burning of sea-coal by proclamation in London in 1272, after its smoke became a problem; the fuel was so common in England that this earliest of names for it was acquired because it could be carted away from some shores by the wheelbarrow.
It was the industrial revolution that gave birth to environmental pollution as we know it today.
The burning of coal and wood, and the presence of many horses in concentrated areas made the cities the primary sources of pollution.
The Industrial Revolution brought an infusion of untreated chemicals and wastes into local streams that served as the water supply.
Extreme smog events were experienced by the cities of Los Angeles and Donora, Pennsylvania in the late 1940s, serving as another public reminder.
Air pollution would continue to be a problem in England, especially later during the industrial revolution, and extending into the recent past with the Great Smog of 1952.
Pollution is often classed as point source or nonpoint source pollution.
In 2015, pollution killed 9 million people in the world.
According to a 1983 article in the journal Science, "soot" found on ceilings of prehistoric caves provides ample evidence of the high levels of pollution that was associated with inadequate ventilation of open fires." Metal forging appears to be a key turning point in the creation of significant air pollution levels outside the home.
Core samples of glaciers in Greenland indicate increases in pollution associated with Greek, Roman, and Chinese metal production.