Saturday, May 7, 2016

The Great Smog

The Great Smog of '52 or Big Smoke was a severe air-pollution event that affected London during December 1952. A period of cold weather, combined with an anticyclone and windless conditions, collected airborne pollutants mostly from the use of coal to form a thick layer of smog over the city. It lasted from Friday 5 December to Tuesday 9 December 1952, and then dispersed quickly after a change of weather.
Smog wardens, London,1955. Smog wardens taking chemical readings at Blackfriars in London on 1 December 1955. The original caption reads: 'Two of London's smog wardens, called out for the first time yesterday, check the fog's thickness at Blackfriars.'
Smog Wardens
Although it caused major disruption due to the effect on visibility, and even penetrated indoor areas, it was not thought to be a significant event at the time, with London having experienced many smog events in the past, so-called "pea soupers". Government medical reports in the following weeks estimated that up until 8 December 4,000 people had died prematurely and 100,000 more were made ill because of the smog's effects on the human respiratory tract. More recent research suggests that the total number of fatalities was considerably greater, at about 12,000.
It is known to be the worst air-pollution event in the history of the United Kingdom, and the most significant in terms of its effect on environmental research, government regulation, and public awareness of the relationship between air quality and health. It led to several changes in practices and regulations, including the Clean Air Act 1956.

1 comment:

  1. OK, so how scary was that? What further proof is needed that keeping the environment clean is in humanity's best interest? Imagine, not being able to see or breathe.