I chose this topic for one of the first episodes because, well, the English do love to talk about the weather, don’t we?
The thing is, that’s true because it’s usually a safe and inoffensive subject. Our changeable weather, whilst frequently miserable, doesn’t tend to hit the extremes that other countries experience. Killer weather, when it happens, is a shock.
A smog is probably not the first thing you think of when “killer weather” is mentioned. High winds, hurricanes, and blizzards might come up first. But with atmospheric pollution from industrial sources, a smog can be far more deadly than any of those.
I can’t imagine what it would be like to live with those kinds of conditions, but sadly others don’t have to imagine. Although London’s air has been cleaned up, cities like Delhi still suffer.
When you look at the figures of what was being released into London’s air in just a single day during the 1952 smog event (shown on the infographic below) it seems obvious that it would be harmful. The situation is not too different in developing cities today. The question is, have we learned the lessons of 1952 – that what we send up in smoke can, and does, come back down?
Sources and Further Reading/Viewing
The Crown is available on Netflix; “Act of God”, the fourth episode of the first season, is the episode referenced.