05.12.

1952: 12,000 People Died in London Because of the Smog

1952: 12,000 People Died in London Because of the Smog
Photo Credit To http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Nelson's_Column_during_the_Great_Smog_of_1952.jpg

Story Highlights

  • historical event: The word “smog” is of English origin, and it was made by combining the words smoke and fog. The air on this day was filled with a yellowish fog so thick that public transport and the ambulance service were suspended due to bad visibility.

On this day the thickest smog in history blanketed London causing the death of, according to some estimates, up to 12,000 people. An anticyclone settled over London, which led to a lack of wind, so a layer of cold air saturated with smog was left trapped under a “lid” of warm air. Even the word “smog” is of English origin and it was made by combining the words smoke and fog.

The air on this day was filled with a yellowish fog so thick that public transport and the ambulance service were suspended due to bad visibility. The smog even penetrated into indoor areas, so film screenings were cancelled as visibility decreased. The smog was formed due to air pollution caused mainly by burning large amounts of coal, both in coal-fired power stations, as well as private homes. The concentration of sulfur dioxide was particularly high.

People with respiratory disorders experienced complications to the extent that 12,000 people died in the following two weeks. In total, about 100,000 people became ill with respiratory diseases. A large number of victims prompted legislators to pass regulations on preserving air purity.

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