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Published December 15, 2017

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?

London Smog

Sources and Further Reading/Viewing

Wikipedia article on the Great Smog

Met Office Case Studies: The Great Smog of 1952

How the Telegraph covered the smog of 1952

London Milkman, 1940

The Guardian- 60 years since the Great Smog of London – In Pictures

Radio Times – The Crown

London’s great smog of 1952 linked to asthma surge

The Guardian – The most polluted cities in the world

Telegraph – The Great Smog of London: the air was thick with apathy

Energy UK – Electricity generation

The Crown is available on Netflix; “Act of God”, the fourth episode of the first season, is the episode referenced.

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