Smog
Overview
 
Smog is a type of air pollution
Air pollution
Air pollution is the introduction of chemicals, particulate matter, or biological materials that cause harm or discomfort to humans or other living organisms, or cause damage to the natural environment or built environment, into the atmosphere....

; the word "smog" is a portmanteau of smoke
Smoke
Smoke is a collection of airborne solid and liquid particulates and gases emitted when a material undergoes combustion or pyrolysis, together with the quantity of air that is entrained or otherwise mixed into the mass. It is commonly an unwanted by-product of fires , but may also be used for pest...

 and fog
Fog
Fog is a collection of water droplets or ice crystals suspended in the air at or near the Earth's surface. While fog is a type of stratus cloud, the term "fog" is typically distinguished from the more generic term "cloud" in that fog is low-lying, and the moisture in the fog is often generated...

. Modern smog is a type of air pollution
Air pollution
Air pollution is the introduction of chemicals, particulate matter, or biological materials that cause harm or discomfort to humans or other living organisms, or cause damage to the natural environment or built environment, into the atmosphere....

 derived from vehicular emission from internal combustion engine
Internal combustion engine
The internal combustion engine is an engine in which the combustion of a fuel occurs with an oxidizer in a combustion chamber. In an internal combustion engine, the expansion of the high-temperature and high -pressure gases produced by combustion apply direct force to some component of the engine...

s and industrial fumes that react in the atmosphere with sunlight to form secondary pollutants that also combine with the primary emissions to form photochemical smog. Smog is also caused by large amounts of coal
Coal
Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock usually occurring in rock strata in layers or veins called coal beds or coal seams. The harder forms, such as anthracite coal, can be regarded as metamorphic rock because of later exposure to elevated temperature and pressure...

 burning in an area caused by a mixture of smoke, sulfur dioxide
Sulfur dioxide
Sulfur dioxide is the chemical compound with the formula . It is released by volcanoes and in various industrial processes. Since coal and petroleum often contain sulfur compounds, their combustion generates sulfur dioxide unless the sulfur compounds are removed before burning the fuel...

 and other components.
Coinage of the term "smog" is generally attributed to Dr.
Encyclopedia
Smog is a type of air pollution
Air pollution
Air pollution is the introduction of chemicals, particulate matter, or biological materials that cause harm or discomfort to humans or other living organisms, or cause damage to the natural environment or built environment, into the atmosphere....

; the word "smog" is a portmanteau of smoke
Smoke
Smoke is a collection of airborne solid and liquid particulates and gases emitted when a material undergoes combustion or pyrolysis, together with the quantity of air that is entrained or otherwise mixed into the mass. It is commonly an unwanted by-product of fires , but may also be used for pest...

 and fog
Fog
Fog is a collection of water droplets or ice crystals suspended in the air at or near the Earth's surface. While fog is a type of stratus cloud, the term "fog" is typically distinguished from the more generic term "cloud" in that fog is low-lying, and the moisture in the fog is often generated...

. Modern smog is a type of air pollution
Air pollution
Air pollution is the introduction of chemicals, particulate matter, or biological materials that cause harm or discomfort to humans or other living organisms, or cause damage to the natural environment or built environment, into the atmosphere....

 derived from vehicular emission from internal combustion engine
Internal combustion engine
The internal combustion engine is an engine in which the combustion of a fuel occurs with an oxidizer in a combustion chamber. In an internal combustion engine, the expansion of the high-temperature and high -pressure gases produced by combustion apply direct force to some component of the engine...

s and industrial fumes that react in the atmosphere with sunlight to form secondary pollutants that also combine with the primary emissions to form photochemical smog. Smog is also caused by large amounts of coal
Coal
Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock usually occurring in rock strata in layers or veins called coal beds or coal seams. The harder forms, such as anthracite coal, can be regarded as metamorphic rock because of later exposure to elevated temperature and pressure...

 burning in an area caused by a mixture of smoke, sulfur dioxide
Sulfur dioxide
Sulfur dioxide is the chemical compound with the formula . It is released by volcanoes and in various industrial processes. Since coal and petroleum often contain sulfur compounds, their combustion generates sulfur dioxide unless the sulfur compounds are removed before burning the fuel...

 and other components.

Origin of term

Coinage of the term "smog" is generally attributed to Dr. Henry Antoine Des Voeux in his 1905 paper, "Fog and Smoke" for a meeting of the Public Health Congress. The July 26, 1905 edition of the London newspaper Daily Graphic quoted Des Voeux, "He said it required no science to see that there was something produced in great cities which was not found in the country, and that was smoky fog, or what was known as 'smog.'" The following day the newspaper stated that "Dr. Des Voeux did a public service in coining a new word for the London fog." "Smog" also appears in a January 19, 1893, Los Angeles Times article and is attributed to "a witty English writer."

Photochemical smog

Photochemical smog was first described in the 1950s. It is the chemical reaction of sunlight, nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compound
Volatile organic compound
Volatile organic compounds are organic chemicals that have a high vapor pressure at ordinary, room-temperature conditions. Their high vapor pressure results from a low boiling point, which causes large numbers of molecules to evaporate or sublimate from the liquid or solid form of the compound and...

s in the atmosphere, which leaves airborne particles
Particulates
Particulates – also known as particulate matter , suspended particulate matter , fine particles, and soot – are tiny subdivisions of solid matter suspended in a gas or liquid. In contrast, aerosol refers to particles and/or liquid droplets and the gas together. Sources of particulate matter can be...

 and ground-level ozone
Tropospheric ozone
Ozone is a constituent of the troposphere . Photochemical and chemical reactions involving it drive many of the chemical processes that occur in the atmosphere by day and by night...

. This noxious mixture of air pollutants can include the following:
  • Aldehydes
  • Nitrogen oxide
    Nitrogen oxide
    Nitrogen oxide can refer to a binary compound of oxygen and nitrogen, or a mixture of such compounds:* Nitric oxide, also known as nitrogen monoxide, , nitrogen oxide* Nitrogen dioxide , nitrogen oxide...

    s, such as nitrogen dioxide
    Nitrogen dioxide
    Nitrogen dioxide is the chemical compound with the formula it is one of several nitrogen oxides. is an intermediate in the industrial synthesis of nitric acid, millions of tons of which are produced each year. This reddish-brown toxic gas has a characteristic sharp, biting odor and is a prominent...

  • Peroxyacyl nitrates
    Peroxyacyl nitrates
    Acyl peroxy nitrates, or Peroxyacyl nitrates , are powerful respiratory and eye irritants present in photochemical smog. They are produced by the gas-phase oxidation of a variety of volatile organic compounds , or by aldehydes and other oxygenated VOCs oxidizing in the presence of NO2...

  • Tropospheric ozone
    Tropospheric ozone
    Ozone is a constituent of the troposphere . Photochemical and chemical reactions involving it drive many of the chemical processes that occur in the atmosphere by day and by night...

  • Volatile organic compounds


All of these chemicals are usually highly reactive and oxidizing. Photochemical smog is therefore considered to be a problem of modern industrialization. It is present in all modern cities, but it is more common in cities with sunny, warm, dry climates and a large number of motor vehicles. Because it travels with the wind, it can affect sparsely populated areas as well.

Health effects

Smog is a serious problem in many cities and continues to harm human health. Ground-level ozone
Tropospheric ozone
Ozone is a constituent of the troposphere . Photochemical and chemical reactions involving it drive many of the chemical processes that occur in the atmosphere by day and by night...

, sulfur dioxide
Sulfur dioxide
Sulfur dioxide is the chemical compound with the formula . It is released by volcanoes and in various industrial processes. Since coal and petroleum often contain sulfur compounds, their combustion generates sulfur dioxide unless the sulfur compounds are removed before burning the fuel...

, nitrogen dioxide
Nitrogen dioxide
Nitrogen dioxide is the chemical compound with the formula it is one of several nitrogen oxides. is an intermediate in the industrial synthesis of nitric acid, millions of tons of which are produced each year. This reddish-brown toxic gas has a characteristic sharp, biting odor and is a prominent...

 and carbon monoxide
Carbon monoxide
Carbon monoxide , also called carbonous oxide, is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that is slightly lighter than air. It is highly toxic to humans and animals in higher quantities, although it is also produced in normal animal metabolism in low quantities, and is thought to have some normal...

 are especially harmful for senior citizens, children, and people with heart and lung conditions such as emphysema
Emphysema
Emphysema is a long-term, progressive disease of the lungs that primarily causes shortness of breath. In people with emphysema, the tissues necessary to support the physical shape and function of the lungs are destroyed. It is included in a group of diseases called chronic obstructive pulmonary...

, bronchitis
Bronchitis
Acute bronchitis is an inflammation of the large bronchi in the lungs that is usually caused by viruses or bacteria and may last several days or weeks. Characteristic symptoms include cough, sputum production, and shortness of breath and wheezing related to the obstruction of the inflamed airways...

, and asthma
Asthma
Asthma is the common chronic inflammatory disease of the airways characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, reversible airflow obstruction, and bronchospasm. Symptoms include wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath...

. It can inflame breathing passages, decrease the lungs' working capacity, cause shortness of breath, pain when inhaling deeply, wheezing, and coughing. It can cause eye and nose irritation and it dries out the protective membranes of the nose and throat and interferes with the body's ability to fight infection, increasing susceptibility to illness. Hospital admissions and respiratory deaths often increase during periods when ozone levels are high.

The U.S. EPA
United States Environmental Protection Agency
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is an agency of the federal government of the United States charged with protecting human health and the environment, by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by Congress...

 has developed an Air Quality Index
Air Quality Index
Air quality is defined as a measure of the condition of air relative to the requirements of one or more biotic species or to any human need or purpose. Air quality indices are numbers used by government agencies to characterize the quality of the air at a given location...

 to help explain air pollution levels to the general public. 8 hour average ozone mole fractions of 85 to 104 nmol/mol are described as "Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups", 105 nmol/mol 124 nmol/mol as "unhealthy" and 125 nmol/mol to 404 nmol/mol as "very unhealthy". The "very unhealthy" range for some other pollutants are: 355 μg m−3 - 424 μg m−3 for PM10; 15.5 μmol/mol - 30.4 μmol/mol for CO and 0.65 μmol/mol - 1.24 μmol/mol for NO2.

The Ontario Medical Association
Ontario Medical Association
The Ontario Medical Association is a professional organization for physicians in Ontario, Canada founded in 1880. It represents and, to a certain degree, governs approximately 24,000 physicians in Ontario. The association's main office is located at 150 Bloor St. West in Toronto. The current...

 announced that smog is responsible for an estimated 9,500 premature deaths in the province each year.

A 20-year American Cancer Society
American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society is the "nationwide community-based voluntary health organization" dedicated, in their own words, "to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy, and...

 study found that cumulative exposure also increases the likelihood of premature death from a respiratory disease, implying the 8-hour standard may be insufficient.

Areas affected

Smog can form in almost any climate where industries or cities release large amounts of air pollution
Air pollution
Air pollution is the introduction of chemicals, particulate matter, or biological materials that cause harm or discomfort to humans or other living organisms, or cause damage to the natural environment or built environment, into the atmosphere....

, such as smoke or gases. However, it is worse during periods of warmer, sunnier weather when the upper air is warm enough to inhibit vertical circulation. It is especially prevalent in geologic basins encircled by hills or mountains. It often stays for an extended period of time over densely populated cities or urban areas, such as London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, Atlanta
Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta is the capital and most populous city in the U.S. state of Georgia. According to the 2010 census, Atlanta's population is 420,003. Atlanta is the cultural and economic center of the Atlanta metropolitan area, which is home to 5,268,860 people and is the ninth largest metropolitan area in...

, Houston
Houston, Texas
Houston is the fourth-largest city in the United States, and the largest city in the state of Texas. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the city had a population of 2.1 million people within an area of . Houston is the seat of Harris County and the economic center of , which is the ...

, Phoenix
Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix is the capital, and largest city, of the U.S. state of Arizona, as well as the sixth most populated city in the United States. Phoenix is home to 1,445,632 people according to the official 2010 U.S. Census Bureau data...

, Las Vegas
Las Vegas metropolitan area
The Las Vegas Valley is the heart of the Las Vegas-Paradise, NV MSA also known as the Las Vegas–Paradise–Henderson MSA which includes all of Clark County, Nevada, and is a metropolitan area in the southern part of the U.S. state of Nevada. The Valley is defined by the Las Vegas Valley landform, a ...

, New Delhi
New Delhi
New Delhi is the capital city of India. It serves as the centre of the Government of India and the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi. New Delhi is situated within the metropolis of Delhi. It is one of the nine districts of Delhi Union Territory. The total area of the city is...

, New York, Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

, Los Angeles
Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles , with a population at the 2010 United States Census of 3,792,621, is the most populous city in California, USA and the second most populous in the United States, after New York City. It has an area of , and is located in Southern California...

, Sacramento
Sacramento
Sacramento is the capital of the state of California, in the United States of America.Sacramento may also refer to:- United States :*Sacramento County, California*Sacramento, Kentucky*Sacramento – San Joaquin River Delta...

, Fresno
Fresno
Fresno is the fifth largest city in California.Fresno may also refer to:-Places:Colombia* Fresno, TolimaSpain* Fresno, a ghost village in Nidáliga, Valle de Sedano, Burgos* Aldea del Fresno, Madrid* Fresno de la Vega, Ribera del Esla, León...

, São Paulo
São Paulo
São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil, the largest city in the southern hemisphere and South America, and the world's seventh largest city by population. The metropolis is anchor to the São Paulo metropolitan area, ranked as the second-most populous metropolitan area in the Americas and among...

, Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

, Santiago of Chile, Toronto
Toronto
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

, Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

, Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

, Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

, Shanghai
Shanghai
Shanghai is the largest city by population in China and the largest city proper in the world. It is one of the four province-level municipalities in the People's Republic of China, with a total population of over 23 million as of 2010...

, Manila
Manila
Manila is the capital of the Philippines. It is one of the sixteen cities forming Metro Manila.Manila is located on the eastern shores of Manila Bay and is bordered by Navotas and Caloocan to the north, Quezon City to the northeast, San Juan and Mandaluyong to the east, Makati on the southeast,...

, Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

, Seoul
Seoul
Seoul , officially the Seoul Special City, is the capital and largest metropolis of South Korea. A megacity with a population of over 10 million, it is the largest city proper in the OECD developed world...

, the Randstad
Randstad
Image:Randstad_with_scale.png|400px|thumb|right|Clickable schematic map of the Randstadcircle 528 380 26 Schipholrect 426 356 498 436 Haarlemmermeerrect 399 166 479 245 Velsencircle 250 716 32 Delftcircle 220 642 60 The Hague...

 or Ruhr Area
Ruhr Area
The Ruhr, by German-speaking geographers and historians more accurately called Ruhr district or Ruhr region , is an urban area in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. With 4435 km² and a population of some 5.2 million , it is the largest urban agglomeration in Germany...

 and can build up to dangerous levels.

London

In 1306, concerns over air pollution were sufficient for Edward I
Edward I of England
Edward I , also known as Edward Longshanks and the Hammer of the Scots, was King of England from 1272 to 1307. The first son of Henry III, Edward was involved early in the political intrigues of his father's reign, which included an outright rebellion by the English barons...

 to (briefly) ban coal fires in London. In 1661, John Evelyn
John Evelyn
John Evelyn was an English writer, gardener and diarist.Evelyn's diaries or Memoirs are largely contemporaneous with those of the other noted diarist of the time, Samuel Pepys, and cast considerable light on the art, culture and politics of the time John Evelyn (31 October 1620 – 27 February...

's Fumifugium
Fumifugium
Fumifugium, or, The inconveniencie of the aer and smoak of London dissipated together with some remedies humbly proposed by J.E. esq. to His Sacred Majestie, and to the Parliament now assembled is a pamphlet published in London, 1661 , by John Evelyn...

suggested burning fragrant wood instead of mineral coal, which he believed would reduce coughing. The Ballad of Gresham College the same year describes how the smoke "does our lungs and spirits choke, Our hanging spoil, and rust our iron."

Severe episodes of smog continued in the 19th and 20th centuries, mainly in the winter, and were nicknamed "pea-soupers", . The Great Smog of 1952
Great Smog of 1952
The Great Smog of '52 or Big Smoke was a severe air pollution event that affected London, England, during December 1952. A period of cold weather, combined with an anticyclone and windless conditions, collected airborne pollutants mostly from the use of coal to form a thick layer of smog over the...

 darkened the streets of London and killed approximately 4,000 people in the short time of 4 days (a further 8,000 died from its effects in the following weeks and months). Initially a flu epidemic
Epidemic
In epidemiology, an epidemic , occurs when new cases of a certain disease, in a given human population, and during a given period, substantially exceed what is expected based on recent experience...

 was blamed for the loss of life. In 1956 the Clean Air Act
Clean Air Act 1956
The Clean Air Act 1956 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed in response to London's Great Smog of 1952. It was in effect until 1964, and sponsored by the Ministry of Housing and Local Government in England and the Department of Health for Scotland.The Act introduced a number of...

 introduced smokeless zones in the capital. Consequently, reduced sulfur dioxide
Sulfur dioxide
Sulfur dioxide is the chemical compound with the formula . It is released by volcanoes and in various industrial processes. Since coal and petroleum often contain sulfur compounds, their combustion generates sulfur dioxide unless the sulfur compounds are removed before burning the fuel...

 levels made the intense and persistent London smog a thing of the past. It was after this the great clean-up of London began and buildings recovered their original stone façades which, during two centuries, had gradually blackened, a notable example being the Palace of Westminster
Palace of Westminster
The Palace of Westminster, also known as the Houses of Parliament or Westminster Palace, is the meeting place of the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom—the House of Lords and the House of Commons...

 which was cleaned to restore its original appearance in the 1980s. Smog caused by traffic pollution, however, does occur in modern London.

Mexico City

Due to its location in a highland "bowl", cold air sinks down onto the urban area of Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

, trapping industrial and vehicle pollution underneath, and turning it into the most infamously smog-plagued city of Latin America. Within one generation, the city has changed from being known for some of the cleanest air of the world into one with some of the worst pollution, with pollutants like nitrogen dioxide
Nitrogen dioxide
Nitrogen dioxide is the chemical compound with the formula it is one of several nitrogen oxides. is an intermediate in the industrial synthesis of nitric acid, millions of tons of which are produced each year. This reddish-brown toxic gas has a characteristic sharp, biting odor and is a prominent...

 being double or even triple international standards.

Santiago (Chile)

Similar to Mexico City, the air pollution of Santiago valley located near the Andes
Andes
The Andes is the world's longest continental mountain range. It is a continual range of highlands along the western coast of South America. This range is about long, about to wide , and of an average height of about .Along its length, the Andes is split into several ranges, which are separated...

 range turning it into the second most infamously smog-plagued city of Latin America.

Tehran

In December 2005, schools and public offices had to close in Tehran
Tehran
Tehran , sometimes spelled Teheran, is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With an estimated population of 8,429,807; it is also Iran's largest urban area and city, one of the largest cities in Western Asia, and is the world's 19th largest city.In the 20th century, Tehran was subject to...

, Iran and 1600 people were taken to hospital, in a severe smog blamed largely on unfiltered car exhaust.

United States

Smog was brought to the attention of the general US public in 1933 with the publication of the book "Stop That Smoke", by Henry Obermeyer, a New York public utility official, in which he pointed out the effect on human life and even the destruction of 3000 acres (12.1 km²) of a farmer's spinach crop. Since then, the United States Environmental Protection Agency
United States Environmental Protection Agency
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is an agency of the federal government of the United States charged with protecting human health and the environment, by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by Congress...

 has designated over 300 U.S. counties to be non-attainment areas for one or more pollutants tracked as part of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards
National Ambient Air Quality Standards
The National Ambient Air Quality Standards are standards established by the United States Environmental Protection Agency under authority of the Clean Air Act that apply for outdoor air throughout the country...

. These areas are largely clustered around large metropolitan areas, with the largest contiguous non-attainment zones in California and the Northeast. Various U.S. and Canadian government agencies collaborate to produce real-time air quality maps and forecasts.
Los Angeles and the San Joaquin Valley

Being in low basins surrounded by mountains, Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

 and the San Joaquin Valley
San Joaquin Valley
The San Joaquin Valley is the area of the Central Valley of California that lies south of the Sacramento – San Joaquin River Delta in Stockton...

 are notorious for their smog. The millions of vehicles in these basins plus the added effects of the San Francisco Bay
San Francisco Bay
San Francisco Bay is a shallow, productive estuary through which water draining from approximately forty percent of California, flowing in the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers from the Sierra Nevada mountains, enters the Pacific Ocean...

 and Los Angeles/Long Beach
Long Beach, California
Long Beach is a city situated in Los Angeles County in Southern California, on the Pacific coast of the United States. The city is the 36th-largest city in the nation and the seventh-largest in California. As of 2010, its population was 462,257...

 port complexes contribute to further air pollution. While strict regulations by the multiple California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

 government agencies overseeing this problem have reduced the number of Stage 1 smog alerts from several hundred annually to just a few, these geologically predisposed entrapment zones collect pollution levels from cars, trucks and fixed sources which still exceeds health standards and is a pressing issue for the more than 25 million people who live there.

Major incidents in the US

  • 1948, October 30–31
    Donora Smog of 1948
    The 1948 Donora smog was a historic air inversion resulting in a wall of smog that killed 20 people and sickened 7,000 more in Donora, Pennsylvania, a mill town on the Monongahela River, southeast of Pittsburgh.-The incident:...

    , Donora, PA: 20 died, 600 hospitalized, thousands more stricken. Lawsuits were not settled until 1951.
  • 1953, November, New York: Smog kills between 170 and 260 people.
  • 1954, October, Los Angeles: heavy smog shuts down schools and industry for most of the month.
  • 1963, New York: blamed for 200 deaths
  • 1966, New York: blamed for 169 deaths

Southeast Asia

Smog is a regular problem in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

 caused by land and forest fires
Wildfire
A wildfire is any uncontrolled fire in combustible vegetation that occurs in the countryside or a wilderness area. Other names such as brush fire, bushfire, forest fire, desert fire, grass fire, hill fire, squirrel fire, vegetation fire, veldfire, and wilkjjofire may be used to describe the same...

 in Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

, especially Sumatra
Sumatra
Sumatra is an island in western Indonesia, westernmost of the Sunda Islands. It is the largest island entirely in Indonesia , and the sixth largest island in the world at 473,481 km2 with a population of 50,365,538...

 and Kalimantan
Kalimantan
In English, the term Kalimantan refers to the Indonesian portion of the island of Borneo, while in Indonesian, the term "Kalimantan" refers to the whole island of Borneo....

, although the term haze
Haze
Haze is traditionally an atmospheric phenomenon where dust, smoke and other dry particles obscure the clarity of the sky. The World Meteorological Organization manual of codes includes a classification of horizontal obscuration into categories of fog, ice fog, steam fog, mist, haze, smoke, volcanic...

 is preferred in describing the problem. Farmers and plantation owners are usually responsible for the fires, which they use to clear tracts of land for further plantings. Those fires mainly affect Brunei
Brunei
Brunei , officially the State of Brunei Darussalam or the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace , is a sovereign state located on the north coast of the island of Borneo, in Southeast Asia...

, Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

, Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

, Malaysia, Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

 and Thailand
Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

, and occasionally Guam
Guam
Guam is an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States located in the western Pacific Ocean. It is one of five U.S. territories with an established civilian government. Guam is listed as one of 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories by the Special Committee on Decolonization of the United...

 and Saipan
Saipan
Saipan is the largest island of the United States Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands , a chain of 15 tropical islands belonging to the Marianas archipelago in the western Pacific Ocean with a total area of . The 2000 census population was 62,392...

. The economic losses of the fires in 1997 have been estimated at more than US$9 billion. This includes damages in agriculture production, destruction of forest lands, health, transportation, tourism, and other economic endeavours. Not included are social, environmental, and psychological problems and long-term health effects. The latest bout of haze to occur in Malaysia, Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

 and the Malacca Straits is in October 2006, and was caused by smoke from fires in Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

 being blown across the Straits of Malacca by south-westerly winds.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations
Association of Southeast Asian Nations
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, commonly abbreviated ASEAN rarely ), is a geo-political and economic organization of ten countries located in Southeast Asia, which was formed on 8 August 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Since then, membership has...

 (ASEAN) reacted and signed Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution
ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution
The ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution is an environmental agreement signed in 2002 between all ASEAN nations to reduce haze pollution in Southeast Asia...

, formed a Regional Haze Action Plan (RHAP) and established a co-ordination and support unit (CSU). RHAP, with the help of Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, established a monitoring and warning system for forest/vegetation fires and implemented a Fire Danger Rating System (FDRS). The Malaysian Meteorological Service (MMS) has issued a daily rating since September 2003. The Indonesians have been ineffective at enforcing legal policies on errant farmers.

Natural causes

An erupting volcano can also emit high levels of sulphur dioxide along with a large quantity of particulate matter; two key components to the creation of smog. However, the smog created as a result of a volcanic eruption is often known as "vog" to distinguish it as a natural occurrence.

The radiocarbon content of some plant life has been linked to the distribution of smog in some areas. For example; presence of Creosote bush
Creosote bush
Larrea tridentata is known as Creosote bush as a plant, chaparral as a medicinal herb, and as "gobernadora" in Mexico, Spanish for "governess," due to its ability for inhibiting the growth of nearby plants to have more water. In Sonora, it is more commonly called "hediondilla." It is a flowering...

 in the Los Angeles area has been shown to have an effect on smog distribution that is more than fossil fuel combustion alone.

Pollution index

The severity of smog is often measured using automated optical instruments such as Nephelometer
Nephelometer
A nephelometer is a stationary or portable instrument for measuring suspended particulates in a liquid or gas colloid. A nephelometer measures suspended particulates by employing a light beam and a light detector set to one side of the source beam. Particle density is then a function of the...

s, as haze is associated with visibility and traffic control in ports. Haze however can also be an indication of poor air quality though this is often better reflected using accurate purpose built air indexes such as the American Air Quality Index
Air Quality Index
Air quality is defined as a measure of the condition of air relative to the requirements of one or more biotic species or to any human need or purpose. Air quality indices are numbers used by government agencies to characterize the quality of the air at a given location...

, the Malaysian API (Air Pollution Index) and the Singaporean Pollutant Standards Index
Pollutant Standards Index
The Pollutant Standards Index, or PSI, provides a uniform system of measuring pollution levels for the major air pollutants. It is based on a scale devised by the United States Environmental Protection Agency to provide a way for broadcasts and newspapers to report air quality on a daily basis.The...

.

In hazy conditions, it is likely that the index will report the suspended particulate level. The disclosure of the responsible pollutant is mandated in some jurisdictions.

The Malaysian API does not have a capped value; hence its most hazardous readings can go above 500. Above 500, a state of emergency is declared in the affected area. Usually, this means that non-essential government services are suspended, and all ports in the affected area are closed. There may also be prohibitions on private sector commercial and industrial activities in the affected area excluding the food sector. So far, state of emergency rulings due to hazardous API levels were applied to the Malaysian towns of Port Klang, Kuala Selangor and the state of Sarawak during the 2005 Malaysian haze
2005 Malaysian haze
The 2005 Malaysian haze was a week-long choking smog-like haze over Malaysia that almost brought the central part of Peninsular Malaysia to a standstill, prompted crisis talks with Indonesia and caused widespread inconvenience. The haze was at its worst on August 11, 2005...

 and the 1997 Southeast Asian haze
1997 Southeast Asian haze
The 1997 Southeast Asian haze was a large-scale air quality disaster which occurred during the second half of 1997, its after-effects causing widespread atmospheric visibility and health problems within Southeast Asia...

.

Cultural references

  • The London "pea-soupers
    Pea soup fog
    Pea soup, or a pea souper, is a type of visible air pollution, a thick and often yellowish smog caused by the burning of soft coal. Smog, a portmanteau of hi"smoke" and "fog", can be lethal, and even the healthy may be inconvenienced by it.-London:...

    " earned the capital the nickname of "The Smoke". Similarly, Edinburgh
    Edinburgh
    Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

     was known as "Auld Reekie". The smogs feature in many London novels as a motif indicating hidden danger or a mystery, perhaps most overtly in Margery Allingham
    Margery Allingham
    Margery Louise Allingham was an English crime writer, best remembered for her detective stories featuring gentleman sleuth Albert Campion.- Childhood and schooling :...

    's The Tiger in the Smoke (1952), but also in Dickens
    Charles Dickens
    Charles John Huffam Dickens was an English novelist, generally considered the greatest of the Victorian period. Dickens enjoyed a wider popularity and fame than had any previous author during his lifetime, and he remains popular, having been responsible for some of English literature's most iconic...

    ' Bleak House
    Bleak House
    Bleak House is the ninth novel by Charles Dickens, published in twenty monthly installments between March 1852 and September 1853. It is held to be one of Dickens's finest novels, containing one of the most vast, complex and engaging arrays of minor characters and sub-plots in his entire canon...

    (1852).
  • The 1970 made-for-TV movie A Clear and Present Danger, which featured Hal Holbrook, E.G. Marshall, Joseph Campanella, Jack Albertson and Pat Hingle, was one of the first American television network entertainment programs to warn about the problem of smog and air pollution.
  • Hedorah
    Hedorah
    , also known as the Smog Monster, is a fictional character in the 1971 film Godzilla vs. Hedorah. The monster was named for , the Japanese word for sludge, vomit, slime or chemical ooze. He is the main antagonist of the film.-Description:...

    , a monster from the Godzilla
    Godzilla
    is a daikaijū, a Japanese movie monster, first appearing in Ishirō Honda's 1954 film Godzilla. Since then, Godzilla has gone on to become a worldwide pop culture icon starring in 28 films produced by Toho Co., Ltd. The monster has appeared in numerous other media incarnations including video games,...

     movie, Godzilla vs. Hedorah
    Godzilla vs. Hedorah
    , also known as Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster, is a 1971 science fiction kaiju film. The eleventh film in Toho Co. Ltd.'s Godzilla series , it was directed by Yoshimitsu Banno with special effects by Teruyoshi Nakano. It was the first film to feature Hedorah. The score was composed by Riichiro Manabe...

    , feeds on pollution and is referred to as "The Smog Monster".
  • South Park
    South Park
    South Park is an American animated television series created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone for the Comedy Central television network. Intended for mature audiences, the show has become famous for its crude language, surreal, satirical, and dark humor that lampoons a wide range of topics...

    , The town of South park is beset by smug, in the episode Smug Alert!
    Smug Alert!
    "Smug Alert!" is the second episode of the tenth season of the American animated television series South Park, and the 141st episode overall. It first aired on Comedy Central in the United States on March 29, 2006...

    , a satirical reference to both smog and celebrities who wish to prevent environmental degradation.
  • The history of smog in LA is detailed in Smogtown by Chip Jacobs and William J. Kelly (Overlook Press).

See also

  • 1997 Southeast Asian haze
    1997 Southeast Asian haze
    The 1997 Southeast Asian haze was a large-scale air quality disaster which occurred during the second half of 1997, its after-effects causing widespread atmospheric visibility and health problems within Southeast Asia...

  • 2005 Malaysian haze
    2005 Malaysian haze
    The 2005 Malaysian haze was a week-long choking smog-like haze over Malaysia that almost brought the central part of Peninsular Malaysia to a standstill, prompted crisis talks with Indonesia and caused widespread inconvenience. The haze was at its worst on August 11, 2005...

  • 2006 Southeast Asian haze
  • Contrail
    Contrail
    Contrails or vapour trails are artificial clouds that are the visible trails of condensed water vapour made by the exhaust of aircraft engines...

  • Criteria air contaminants
    Criteria air contaminants
    Criteria air contaminants , or criteria pollutants, are a set of air pollutants that cause smog, acid rain and other health hazards. The laws and regulations of different polities may define different sets. CACs are typically emitted from many sources in industry, mining, transportation,...

  • Emission standard
    Emission standard
    Emission standards are requirements that set specific limits to the amount of pollutants that can be released into the environment. Many emissions standards focus on regulating pollutants released by automobiles and other powered vehicles but they can also regulate emissions from industry, power...

  • Inversion effect
  • Nitric oxide
    Nitric oxide
    Nitric oxide, also known as nitrogen monoxide, is a diatomic molecule with chemical formula NO. It is a free radical and is an important intermediate in the chemical industry...

  • Ozone
    Ozone
    Ozone , or trioxygen, is a triatomic molecule, consisting of three oxygen atoms. It is an allotrope of oxygen that is much less stable than the diatomic allotrope...

  • Umweltzone

External links

  • Smog A Citizendium article
  • Eoearth.org, London Smog Disaster, Encyclopedia of Earth
  • NPI.gov.au, National Pollutant Inventory - Particulate matter fact sheet
  • Contrails.nl, Pictures of Contrails and Aviation Cirrus (- Smog), since 1995 until now.
  • Ausetute.com.au, Photochemical Smog
  • Iras.uu.nl, Airnet Workgroup Toxicology Report


News
  • BBC.co.uk, "When smog was a frequent occurrence, WW2 People's War, BBC
    BBC
    The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

    2005-08-10. Accessed 2006-08-03.
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK