Subversive Historian – 12/05/08

The Great Smog of 1952

Fifty-six years ago on this day in people’s history, deadly smog descended upon London. On December 5th, 1952, a mass of cold fog hovered over the English capital causing many of its residents to burn coal to keep warm. The aftermath resulted in trapped plumes of smoke from households, factories and power plants that would prove to be deadly. Continued cold temperatures and light winds kept the fog smog filled with terrible pollutants such as soot, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide over the city for four more days. It was only afterwards that the true scope of the disaster was known when a Ministry of Health report attributed more than four-thousand deaths to the smog. An estimated eight-thousand more died from resulting respiratory and cardiovascular complications in the months that followed.

The Great Smog of 1952 was an environmental turning point in history as government regulations on air pollution soon followed. And you thought the smog in Los Angeles was bad!

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