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Air Pollution and the significance of the great Smog of London on the 5th December 1952

What was the Great Smog of London, on the 5th December 1952?

Air Pollution visibly hit London at the start of December in 1952 when the weather system created the perfect environment of a mix of cold weather, antycyclone weather system and mostly windless conditions.  It was common at the time to burn coal during the winter months. Coal burns off sulphur dioxide, but in the weather conditions the sulphuric dioxide converted into sulphuric acid particles. For the Citizens of London, walking through the smog left them covered in the pollution in the air, with the added dangers of side effects such as coughing and wheezing,

London was bathed in a sea of thick dense smog, causing the visibility to be was vastly reduced and the light levels great reduced. The smog was everywhere, even ingressing into peoples houses. These conditions lasted for 5 days, the weather system changed and the polluted shroud of smog lifed from the streets of the capital.

Government medical reports indicated 4,000-10,000 people dieing with estimated of 100,000 people falling victim to the effects of breathing in the Smog pollutants.

Did the Great Smog of London change anything on Air Pollution in the United Kingdom?

What is the Clean air Act of 1956

In 1956 the Clean Air Act came into force which set about reducing some of the contributory factors of the Great Smog. This included the development of smokeless zones. Smokeless zones requires the burning of smoke free fuels only.  The act changed behaviour and in with that some of the contributory factors for this time of pollution changed. Solid fuel fires decreased in popularity, gas and electric heater took over as the predominant heating sources in houses. Not only was change affected by the population but also heavy industry was on the decline in Great Britain, power stations required taller chimney stacks along with the location of power plants oputside of population centres.

Did this solve Pollution in the United Kingdom?

Reduction of Sulphur particles in the air yes, but the debate on pollution, pollution levels debate continues.

Selected Great Smog films from Youtube

(Cover photograph – https://images.immediate.co.uk/volatile/sites/3/2017/08/122619.jpg)

 

 

 

 

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