The Great Smog of 1952 And How It Affected You
London has always been known for its foggy skies. The London sky has been an inspiration for many songs, served as the backdrop for many movies and is often the first thing anyone mentions about the city, but after an unprecedented event in the 1950’s, the historic skies also served as an inspiration for a clean air initiative called the Clean Air Act of 1956 that kick started the clean air movement.
One the morning of December 5th, 1952, there was a heavy fog over London. Initially thought of as nothing more than an inconvenience, this fog proved to be more powerful and dangerous than normal for the London citizens. A perfect storm of cold weather, a lack of wind and heavy airborne pollutants combined to form a thick layer of damaging smog over the city that caused city traffic to shut down temporarily, made visibility difficult, and was causing hidden health issues for many of the residents.
This heavy fog resulted in an estimated 12,000 people perishing from the intense pollution. In the following months, another 8,000 are thought to have died from the lingering aftermath of the great fog. In response to this tragedy, London implemented the Clean Air Act of 1956. The Clean Air Act of 1956 was in effect until 1964, and served as a launching point for other clean air initiatives that further enforced clean air regulation in big cities around the world.
Today, that regulation has extended even further, and is carried out by manufacturing businesses using such materials like industrial air scrubbers to keep their pollution amount at a safe level. These scrubbers work as preventative measures to reduce pollution in the air. Although the Clean Air Act of 1956 was not the most iconic and impressive measure of clean air regulation that has existed in history, it certainly was a step forward in the right direction when it came to protecting the environment, the people and the world.