A Lesson for India in a Fog So Thick It Could Kill a Cow

11 Nov 2016   India

In December 1873, London was blanketed for a week in a yellow fog so thick that people could not see their feet. “Ladies & gentlemen,” Mark Twain said in a public lecture at the time, “I hear you, & so know that you are here — & I am here, too, notwithstanding I am not visible.” Some 780 people died and 50 prize cattle on display at the Smithfield Club panted, wheezed and eventually died of asphyxia. Still, it took 83 more years of noxious air before the country passed the Clean Air Act in 1956. This history, described in “ London Fog: The Biography ,” is a lesson in just how difficult it is for governments to put public health first when it comes into conflict with economic development, the political power of industry and even the polluting habits of their people. The government of India is up […]

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