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Monday, November 28, 2016

Missouri, Coal and Pollution HIstory

On this day, November 28, 1939, in our own St. Louis, Missouri.

This is how soon, how quickly we forget how dirty, how black and foul our air was here in the US, let alone Missouri before government stepped in, by necessity.

A bit from the article:

ST. LOUIS • City dwellers woke up on Nov. 28, 1939, in a thick fog of acrid coal smoke. Suburbanites heading to work saw a low dome of darkness covering neighborhoods east of Kingshighway.

In a streetcar downtown at 8 a.m., a commuter told the driver, "Let me off at 13th and Washington - if you can find it." Motorists drove slowly with headlights on. Streetlights, still on, made ghostly glows.

The day became infamous as Black Tuesday, the worst of many smoke-choked days in what was to be St. Louis' smokiest cold-weather season. The city already was known for the nation's filthiest air, worse even than Pittsburgh's.

The reason was the area's reliance on cheap, dirty, high-sulfur "soft" coal dug from the hills and hollows across the Mississippi River in Illinois. St. Louis' first anti-smoke ordinance dated to 1867. But as the city grew in population and industry, the smoke kept getting worse.

In 1936, after years of civic debate, city aldermen required homes and businesses to install mechanical stokers in furnaces or burn "washed" local coal.

Let's learn from the past.

And move forward. Not backward.

Links:  1939 St. Louis smog - Wikipedia

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