The capital of the United Kingdom was once known as the world capital of smog. However, a lot has changed since the fifties, when the city used to struggle with air pollution on a daily basis. Today, London is taking radical actions to elevate its air quality. What is the history of London smog, and how did the city manage to take back control of the situation? Even today, air pollution levels in London require the adoption of protective measures.
In 1952, the city of London witnessed a tragic incident. As the temperature dropped drastically, Londoners began to burn more coal to heat up their houses. Toxic gases and particles accompanied by the temperature drop caused the formation of smog that turned out to be more dangerous than usual. That day, tens of thousands of Londoners were hospitalized. In the following days, more than 8 thousand people died as a result of respiratory failure.
The Great Smog of London, as it is known today, incentivized significant regulation changes. Their implementation has improved the lives of Londoners. The city, once one of the most polluted in the world, has lowered its emissions of toxic gases and particulate matter. Obviously, that didn’t happen overnight. To improve the situation, the government made certain investments and introduced laws. The most significant one was the Clean Air Act that was introduced four years after the tragic incident.
Today, we can risk saying that the capital of the United Kingdom boasts relatively good air quality considering its size and industrial activity. The air is obviously far from perfect, but London is no longer one of Europe’s most polluted cities. Which initiatives have helped lower emissions?
The London Underground is one of the most developed metros in the world. Besides this, Londoners have access to numerous bus and train connections. Many inhabitants of surrounding towns leave their cars at train stations and continue their commute to work using public transport.
This solution has turned out to be successful in many cities around the world. Now, only the vehicles that meet low emission standards can enter the central zones of London. The emissions of toxic gases from exhaust fumes are expected to drop significantly.
Although emissions have undoubtedly lowered, it doesn’t mean that the air in London is healthy to breathe. The easiest thing to do is monitor air quality yourself. This way, you’ll know when it is necessary to use an antismog mask.
If you want to keep up to date with air pollution levels in London, consider using our mobile app or online air pollution map. It provides you with real-time data collected by sensors that have been distributed at various points of the city. You can check the temperature, humidity, and atmospheric pressure in addition to the concentration of particulate matter and toxic gases.
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