During the smog and for the following two weeks approximately 4,000 people were killed from direct effects. It is believed over 12,000 deaths can be tied to the great smog in the winter of 1952. Some researchers suggest that the number of fatalities was considerably greater in comparison to official numbers.
The damaging impact of the smog was not immediately clear, rather people and the government began to worry when the deaths peaked at rate of 900 per day on the 8th and 9th of December.
These deaths were primarily attributed to pneumonia, bronchitis, tuberculosis or heart failure. Cardiac distress and asphyxiation were among the most common causes of death.
Other negative health effects included short-term chest pains, lung inflammation and diminished breathing ability, damaged respiratory cells, permanent lung damage and increased incidence of asthma attacks. Infant mortality doubled during the week of the Great Smog disaster.
Air pollution in big cities and Kyoto protocol
Modern smog is caused by a chemical reaction from mixture of pollutants, heat and sunlight. It is a form of air pollution which accumulates in the lower atmosphere levels over towns and cities where industry is heavily developed. Larger cities can also suffer from negative smog effects, since the gases are emanating from the large number of vehicle exhaust pipes and factories. The smog we see today is not visible as the smog of coal origin which struck London.
Still, air pollution represents a major health problem in most of the large cities. Ground-level ozone, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide can be especially harmful for the old and young people, as well as for people with existing health problems. Those suffering from heart and lung conditions such as asthma, emphysema and bronchitis are the most susceptible to the negative effects of smog.
The total of smog on our planet has been causing the ozone layer to degrade, thus leading to global warming and climate change effects, with inevitable consequences for life everywhere. The Kyoto protocol is an agreement made under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) in an attempt to combat air pollution.Since its introduction in 1997 to 2011, the protocol has been signed by 191 nations. The main idea behind the effort is that global co-ordination on industry issues can reduce the amount of chemical pollution in the environment and raise the quality of life.