Great Smog of 1952

Great Smog of 1952

The Great Smog, also referred to as the Big Smoke, befell London from December 5th to December 9th, 1952. The catastrophe caused or advanced the death of thousands of Londoners, and formed an important impetus to the modern environmental movement. Deaths in most cases during the Great Smog were due to respiratory tract infections from hypoxia (a low level of oxygenation of blood), and due to mechanical obstruction of the air passages by pus arising from lung infections caused by the smog. The lung infections were mainly bronchopneumonia or acute purulent bronchitis superimposed upon chronic bronchitis.Camps, Francis E (Ed.) (1976). "Gradwohl's Legal Medicine, 3rd edition" "Bristol: John Wright & Sons Ltd", ISBN 0 7236 0310 3. page 236]

Early in December 1952, a cold fog descended upon London. Because of the cold, Londoners began to burn more coal than usual. The resulting air pollution was trapped by the inversion layer formed by the dense mass of cold air. Concentrations of pollutants, coal smoke in particular, built up dramatically. The problem was made worse by use of low-quality, high-sulphur coal for home heating in London in order to permit export of higher-quality coal, because of the country's tenuous postwar economic situation [ [ Environmental Health Perspectives Volume 110, Number 12, December 2002: Guest Editorials:A Half Century Later: Recollections of the London Fog (David V. Bates)] ] . The "fog", or smog, was so thick that driving became difficult or impossible. It entered indoors easily, and concerts and screenings of films were cancelled as the audience could not see the stage or screen.

Since London was known for its fog, there was no great panic at the time. In the weeks that followed, the medical services compiled statistics and found that the fog had killed 4,000 people, [cite web
title=Met Office: The Great Smog of 1952
] most of whom were very young or elderly, or had pre-existing respiratory problems. There was relief Fact|date=October 2008 that Queen Mary, The Queen Dowager, then aged 85 and suffering with respiratory problems, was not at Buckingham Palace at the time of the incident. Another 8,000 died in the weeks and months that followed.

These shocking revelations led to a rethinking of air pollution; the disaster had demonstrated its lethal potential to people around the world. New regulations were put in place restricting the use of dirty fuels in industry and banning black smoke. These included the Clean Air Acts of 1956 and of 1968, and the City of London (Various Powers) Act of 1954.


External links

* [ London Fog]
* [ The Great Smog of 1952]
* [ Days of toxic darkness] BBC News
* [ Historic smog death toll rises] BBC, 2002-12-02.
* [ 1952: London fog clears after days of chaos] BBC News, 1952-12-09.
* [ NPR: The Killer Fog of '52]
* [ Pollution call on smog anniversary]
* [ Description of smog]
* [ National Pollutant Inventory - Particulate matter fact sheet]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • The Great Smog — Nelson Säule in London 1952. Die große Smog Katastrophe (The Great Smog) in London begann am 5. Dezember 1952. Sie hatte zur Folge, dass tausende Menschen an Atemwegserkrankungen starben. Es gab jedoch schon vorher Smog Ereignisse in London.… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Smog — is a kind of air pollution; the word smog is a portmanteau of smoke and fog. Classic smog results from large amounts of coal burning in an area caused by a mixture of smoke and sulfur dioxide. Modern smog does not usually come from coal but from… …   Wikipedia

  • 1952 in the United Kingdom — Events from the year 1952 in the United Kingdom.Incumbents*Monarch King George VI of the United Kingdom (until 6 February), Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom *Prime Minister Winston Churchill Conservative PartyEvents* 5 January Prime Minister… …   Wikipedia

  • 1952 — This article is about the year 1952. Millennium: 2nd millennium Centuries: 19th century – 20th century – 21st century Decades: 1920s  1930s  1940s  – 1950s –  1960s   …   Wikipedia

  • Smog-Katastrophe in London 1952 — Nelson Säule in London 1952. Die große Smog Katastrophe (The Great Smog) in London begann am 5. Dezember 1952. Wegen der extremen Luftverschmutzung bekamen zehntausende Menschen Atemprobleme, an denen tausende starben. Schon vorher gab es Smog… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Smog — Giftiger Smog in Moskau. Russland, Moskau, 2010. Verkehrsverbot b …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Grand smog de Londres — La colonne Nelson durant le grand smog de Londres de 1952 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Gran Niebla de 1952 en Londres — La Gran Niebla de 1952 en Londres, conocida también como great Smog, fue un periodo de polución ambiental, entre los días 5 de diciembre y 9 de diciembre de 1952 que cubrió la ciudad de Londres. El fenómeno fue considerado uno de los peores… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Великий смог 1952 года — Колонна Нельсона во время великого смога 1952 года …   Википедия

  • 1948 Donora smog — Coordinates: 40°10′30″N 79°51′40″W / 40.175°N 79.861°W / 40.175; 79.861 The 1948 Donora smog was a historic air inversion resulting in a wall …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.