Traffic is a contributor to dirty air in Turkey's capital. Photograph by bddemir via flickr.
In December 1952, the city of London was beset by what is now known as the Great Smog or "killer fog." It was a particularly chilly winter that year, so residents were burning a lot of coal, which got trapped under a dense layer of cold air. In the following weeks and months, up to 12,000 people died of respiratory diseases and related illnesses. During this incident, pollution levels rose over 4,000 micrograms per cubic meter. Last week in Ankara, the capital of Turkey, they topped that.
Pollution levels hit 5,070 micrograms per cubic meter in the Sıhhiye district of Ankara, reports the Hürriyet Daily News. Air quality is thought to be worsening because of the increasing use of coal in the wintertime, as well as the year-round problems caused by motor vehicles and rapid urbanization.
Different arms of the government seem to be operating at cross-purposes, with some trying to ameliorate the situation, and others abetting it. As the Ministry of Environment and Forestry works on regulations that would help bring air-pollution limits up to European Union standards by 2014, local municipalities are handing out free coal to the poor, much of it rumored to be of low quality. Via: "Alarming air pollution in Ankara," Hürriyet Daily News
More about smog:
Killer Smog Cloud Smothers Sunlight Across Asia
Anniversary of Killer Smog Event That Sparked US Clean Air Movement Commemorated in Pennsylvania Museum
Breathing in Beijing: An Emergency Anti-Smog Plan, Rainmaking, and New Words for Pollution
Mexico City Smog Shown to Damage Residents' Sense of Smell
Eco-Myth: Smog Makes Beautiful Sunsets
Protesting Smog, Hong Kong Dims Sum Lights
Pennsylvania to Tehran: Still Sick of Smog