During this period most societies had very little idea of what was bad for you and what was detrimental to the environment. Mercury was commonly dumped into the water supply and most human and farm waste was allowed to run freely into lakes and streams. Most people who lived in cities just dumped their waste and garbage into the street. It probably smelled very bad.
During the latter half of this period civilization made many great strides, often to the detriment of the environment. People even ingested chemicals they thought were good for them at the time that we now know are very bad for you, like Radium and Lead.
The Industrial Revolution of the 1800s saw little care for environmental impact for the benefit of industry.
Many chemicals were pumped into the air and rivers. Most people of the day were not concerned with the impact that their inventions had on the environment. In their defense you could say that nobody had ever given much thought to the fact that the human race could even effect the ecology.