That year, toxic smog from power plants that primarily used industrial waste and coal lasted for about three days after Thanksgiving, prompting citywide alerts, shutting down all incinerators, and forcing power companies to turn off natural gas. ordered to use. People with cardiovascular and respiratory problems were asked to stay indoors during what is considered one of the worst air pollution and environmental disasters in modern American history.
‘It’s like Mars outside’: Smoke engulfs the East Coast, upending everyday life
In 1966, 11-year-old Burke was in New York City for a family wedding. He recalls spending most of his time in the hotel, having to “wash the contaminants off his face and hands” after only a few minutes out.
“Never before or since in my life have I seen anything like it,” he said.
Nearly 57 years later, the thick fog covering the city is a reminder of a time when the Mamas and the Papas and the Beatles were all the rage, Lyndon B. is evoking It’s just beginning to creep into people’s consciousness. About four years later, Congress passed a landmark Clean Air Act aimed at reducing air pollution.
Burke, who now lives in Rochester, N.Y., said there were similarities between the two events — “places and buildings that should be readily visible are obscured by haze” — but they weren’t exactly the same. rice field.
“Ever since I was a child, I knew [the smog] It’s caused by human activity,” he added, adding that seeing this week’s fog reminded him of a trip to Wyoming in 2021. Grand Teton National Park was covered in smoke at the time, and the smell of campfires wafted through the air.
“The air feels different in that you don’t have to wash your face as soon as you get back inside,” Burke added.
Christine Taylor said photos that emerged from New York City this week reminded her of when she was 12 years old and lived with her family in a brown stone building on the Lower East Side in 1966.
“The sky was very dusty. That’s what I remember most,” Taylor said. “Looking down the long streets of New York, the city was covered in a dusty haze and you couldn’t see far. It’s a bit like today.”
Taylor’s mother has had respiratory problems since contracting tuberculosis in the 1930s. In her toxic haze, she said her mother’s health became a major concern, prompting her inventive father to take matters into her own hands.
Peter Taylor was a creative jack of all trades, his daughter said. At age 43, a self-employed patent attorney, photographer, and architectural director, he began working with Stirling, dabbled in his engines, built his four-seater bike for his family, and built a five-story home. I flew a hot air balloon from the roof of
So when the smog crept into the city and it became difficult for his wife to breathe, Peter Taylor assembled various parts to create an air purifier he dubbed “Assemblage.” The name was meant to be pronounced with a French accent. To make it flashy,” Taylor said.
The assemblage, which was kept in a closed room, blew dirty air into a box the size of a dining table with water circulating inside. A pump pushed water to the top and showered through a screen. Purified air flows through that dripping water into the fan and is forced back into the room.
“We didn’t have air conditioning, so the air we breathed indoors was from outside,” Taylor said. “So by doing this, we all think he saved my mother.”
She added that Peter and his wife, Geraldine, will live long and happy lives.
The smog that filled the city that holiday weekend proved deadly for some.According to his 1968 report for the U.S. Department of Health, between his November 24th and his 30th, 1966, researchers found “An increase in mortality of about 24 people per day.” In 1967, the New York Times reported that smog had killed 168 people, and scientists feared the lingering effects on survivors.
“Lung damage sustained during this time will likely contribute to the ailments that New Yorkers will suffer for years to come,” the scientist told The Times.
Smoke Brings Warning: We Can’t Get Away From Climate Threats to Health
Smog incidents set alarm bells, prompting activists and officials to push for policies to curb air pollution, resulting in the Air Quality Act of 1967, the Clean Air Act of 1970, and US Environmental Protection Agency.
Air quality in American cities has improved since then, but climate change has raised concerns about carbon emissions — and the EPA’s ability to curb emissions following a 2022 Supreme Court ruling. The court has determined that some federal regulations exceed EPA’s authority, limiting its ability to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
“It’s interesting that even though this event directly promoted the Clean Air Act, and the Clean Air Act was later repealed, we’re experiencing the same thing now.” Dwight Rhinosolos of the podcast “Eat the Rich” said. tweeted Side by side with a 1966 photo of smog-covered New York City.