10 photos of the Great Smog in London
• 10 photos of the Great Smog in London
December 5, 1952 was one of the worst environmental events in the history of England.
"Great Smog" (eng. Great Smog) tightly enveloped London for four days and cleared only to 9 December. What happened was a real disaster, which killed 12,000 people and affected more than 100 000, which served as considered the starting point of the modern environmental (ecological) movement.
At the beginning of December 1952 cold fog descended on London. Due to the extremely low temperature citizens was used for heating coal in a larger amount than usual. At about this same time, the process of replacing the municipal electric (trams) buses with a diesel engine.
Locked heavier layer of cold air in the air of combustion products in a few days have reached extreme concentration.
The fog was so thick that hindered the movement of vehicles. demonstration of films, because he could easily penetrate the premises concerts were canceled discontinued. Spectators sometimes simply have not seen the stage or the screen due to the dense veil. By Friday evening, the fog thickened so that the limit of visibility was reduced to five meters. Some townspeople came out of the house, could not find his way back; bewildered impenetrable smog, they could go, just holding on to the walls of nearby houses.
A lot of people wear special masks of gauze and some covered their faces with handkerchiefs or scarves usual, but neither one nor the other did not help - there was nothing to breathe.
At first, the townspeople's reaction was calm as London fog is not uncommon. In the following weeks, however, the statistical data collected by the medical services of the city, showed the deadly nature of the disaster - the number of deaths among infants, the elderly and those suffering from respiratory diseases has reached four thousand people. More about eight thousand people died in the ensuing weeks and months.
Bad impenetrable fog was one of the distinguishing features of London for centuries. About the mists of the British capital, he wrote Dickens, who called it "part of the personality of London," wrote Conan Doyle's stories about Sherlock Holmes and Robert Stephenson's "Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde". Mist - it is the property of England, as the architecture of old London and the royal family.
But the word "smog" (a mixture of smoke and toxic exhaust gases with fog) appeared in only forty-five years before the events described, and was coined in 1905 by Dr. Henry de Vaux.
On Saturday, December 6, 1952 in the theater Sadler's Wells "La Traviata" was interrupted in the middle due to the fact that the audience suddenly began to cough. Thick acrid fog slowly filled the room and see the scene from the gallery has become virtually impossible.
In those days "the great smog 'Hospital in London quickly filled with victims with respiratory disease, the mortality rate began to rise in the city. At first, these facts do not get publicity, but a few days later it turned out that the undertakers finished coffins, while florists - funeral wreaths. Ambulances were unable to reach the sick - the entire city stood in one big traffic jam can not budge. People died from suffocation.
The shock caused by this cruel lesson that made people change their attitude to air pollution. The disaster has clearly demonstrated to the world that this problem is a direct threat to people's lives. New environmental standards aimed at limiting the use of dirty fuels in industry and the prohibition sazhesoderzhaschih exhaust have been taken. Among the measures taken - enactment "Clean Air" (edition from 1956 and 1968) and similar laws of the city of London (1954)