The layer of foam visible in this 1958 photograph of the Niers River in the heavily industrialized state of North Rhine-Westphalia makes clear that the negative effects of West Germany's postwar industrial reconstruction and the ecological downsides of the German “Economic Miracle” [Wirschaftswunder] were already apparent in the 1950s. However, it took until the 1970s for the general public to recognize these problems and for politicians to react to them.

Water Pollution in North Rhine-Westphalia (1958)

  • Herbert Werner Gewande


Source: The Niers, a tributary of the Meuse, polluted by industrial wastewater, 1958. Image 2 of 2. Photo: Herbert Werner Gewande.
bpk-Bildagentur, image number 30008408. For rights inquiries, please contact Art Resource at requests@artres.com (North America) or bpk-Bildagentur at kontakt@bpk-bildagentur.de (for all other countries).

© bpk / Herbert Werner Gewande