On December 5, 1952, one of the most terrible environmental events in the history of England took place - the Great Smog. Warm air from the North Sea stopped over London, this layer of hot air enveloping the city in an almost impenetrable gas cap for five long days. During this period, more than 5, 000 Londoners died and more than 100, 000 suffered, the mortality rate these days was almost eight times higher than the norm.
London's air is driven by the wind blowing from the North Sea and the English Channel, which acts as a kind of clean-up team for nature. The wind blows away the fog, and there are days when London is bathed in sunlight.
Unfortunately, in December 1952, the air over London was still. There weren't strong enough winds to disperse the mist saturated with pollutants, so people were forced to breathe in this extremely polluted air.
There are medical reports, which say that people staggered to the hospital for a breath of clean air. Some of them did not even make it to the hospital, dying of asphyxiation.
The fog was very dense. Airports were closed and ambulances drove through the streets of London at a speed of five kilometers per hour, visibility was close to zero. When the fog penetrated the buildings, there were visibility problems even inside. London hospitals were quickly overrun with respiratory diseases, and deaths in the city began to rise.
At first, these facts were not publicized, but after a few days it turned out that the undertakers had run out of coffins, and the flower merchants had funeral wreaths. Ambulances did not have time to reach the sick - the whole city got stuck in one big traffic jam, unable to move. People were dying of suffocation.
On December 8, the wind began to blow in London again, but it was too late for thousands of citizens who died of suffocation, coughing to their last breath.
“This is almost on the scale of mass extermination, ” the Member of Parliament exclaimed as the death toll exceeded thousands.
Air pollution has always been a problem in London, and the "Great Smog of 1952" changed the attitude of Londoners towards nature. In early 1953, the British government urgently initiated a very large study on air quality in London and the causes of high levels of pollution.
As early as 1956, the UK passed the Clean Air Act (seven years before the United States passed the Act), which drastically reduced air pollution.
However, in 1962, another killer fog hit London, demonstrating that six years is not enough to make a significant change in air quality.
But this time the number of deaths was much lower, 136 Londoners died, and the vast majority of those who died were elderly people with respiratory problems or heart failure. Nearly thousands of people needed medical attention, but the total damage was negligible compared to that caused by the 1952 Great Smog.