The Aftermath of the Great Smog of London

Here at Pearson Fuels, we recognise the growing concern mounting around pollution and the government’s plan to crack down on the toxic gases that are released into our atmosphere. After all, our health and the planet’s longevity depend on the changes that we make before it is too late. With this said, we feel that it is important to look back at one of the most impactful events in British history, The Great Smog of London, in order to understand how and why change is needed. Read on as we go over everything there is to know about the smog and its aftereffects on the inhabitants of the British capital…

What was the Great Smog of London?

In 1952, a severe air pollution event affected London after a prolonged period of cold, windless weather combined with airborne pollutants derived from coal burning which created a thick layer of smog that covered the entire city. The affliction started on Friday 5th December and remained for five days until Tuesday 9th December when weather changes allowed the smog to disperse. The smog caused a variety of different problems by affecting safety in the city centre, reducing visibility and even entering some households.

How many people were affected by the pollution?

Although the smog only stuck around for 5 days, it left behind a devastating aftermath of death and illness. In fact, the government estimated that around 4,000 people died up until the 8th December as a direct result of inhaling the smog and the harmful pollutants combined in it, however, recent research suggests that this figure is closer to the range of 6,000 deaths. In addition to this, almost 100,000 inhabitants of London suffered from illnesses of the respiratory tract following the smog, suggesting that the levels of toxic pollutants it contained were dangerously high.

What did the government do to reduce air contamination?

Although history notes that London has a reputation for poor air quality that dates back to the 13th century, The Great Smog of London forced the government’s hand and paved the way for strict regulations regarding the burning of carbon-based fuels to be implemented. In fact, the Clean Air Act of 1956 introduced Smoke Control Zones around the UK that controlled where coal could and could not be burned in an effort to reduce pollution and prevent another smog from taking hold. Luckily, smokeless ovals are still acceptable for burning in these locations because they contain fewer volatile components.

When it comes to pollution, it is vital that people understand that the planet has a limit and the damage that we inflict cannot be undone once we breach beyond it. After all, releasing toxic gases into the atmosphere doesn’t just affect the air we breathe, it also has a devasting snowball effect on nature by contaminating water supplies and destroying the ecosystem. Luckily, the government introduced Smoke Control Zones following The Great Smog of London in order to control the fuels that are burned and where they are used. After all, strict regulations are the most effective way to reduce the damage that pollution can inflict. To find out more information about our range of smokeless coal, get in control with a member of the Pearson Fuels team today!

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