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Breathing The Big Smoke

Tuesday, 22 July 2014  | 

If you’re a Londoner, there’s probably a part of you that hankers after ‘the good old days’ of various times. Days of bowler hats, Chas and Dave, when Camden was cool, Routemaster buses, vistas of blackened skies thick with chimney smoke and the dome of St Paul’s peeping triumphantly through? No?

Well I do. But, as a motorcyclist going through central London rush hour twice daily I’m often reminded that things probably weren’t quite so amazing in the old days when it came to air quality at least..

Some may personally recall the great pea-souper smog in the 50’s that killed thousands. It’s almost unbelievable today to imagine pollution so bad as to kill thousands in this city in a few days. Still across London today are reminders of this blackened past, with some neglected buildings being jet black with old soot.

- It’s bad enough today being stationary next to one of our eco-friendly modern day ‘green’ double deckers with their exhaust washing a lovely wave of hot cancer over you. Summer makes it worse. Every molecule of fresh oxygen becomes more precious and if you’ve got allergies on top of it – oh! It doesn’t even bear thinking about. But I dread to think what people were breathing in before. A bit of coal dust here, some acid rain there..

Thankfully things are much cleaner these days! Today Hay Fever isn’t laughed away as a ‘summer cold’ and there are effective ways to help with allergies (all available at Health and Care!) or, as my gran said, just get out more and go sniff some flowers.

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