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AIR POLLUTION EPISODE
Transcript of AIR POLLUTION EPISODE
In early December 1930 a dense fog covered much of Belgium along with Meuse river valley due to which
Increased burning of coal
No dispersal of air pollutants
Large spike in excess human deaths and illness
Mingling of smoke with fog
Meuse river valley was heavily industrialized with a variety of air pollutant sources including:
Several electric power generating plants
Over two dozen major factories
Substantial rail roads
Domestic use of coal for heating homes
AIR POLLUTION EPISODE
A period of abnormally high concentration of air pollutants, often due to low winds and temperature inversion, that can cause illness and death.
EFFECTS ON DEAD BODIES
Effects examine on dead bodies:
Little investigation work in the beginning.
Unusually good state of preservation.
Diffused hyperemia of the mucous membranes in the trachea,larger bronchi, and in the larynx.
Practically no bleeding.
Slight effusion of leucocytes from the vessels.
Numerous particles of soot were found in the lung alveoli
Those affected by the fog were
-elderly people mostly
-or people whose lungs or heart were already weak
A statue and plaque commemorating those who died was inaugurated in Engis on 2 December 2000
Investigation carried out by expert commision(physicians,chemists,meteorolgists)___30 substances from 27 factories
Cause of the disaster was never investigated
Unavailability of proper instruments
Autopsies did not provide many clues
Emission of fluorides from plating plants
Fog was held close to the ground by the stability of the elevated inversion layer.
Fine soot particles
THE MEUSE RIVER VALLEY ENVIRONMENTAL EPISODE
The Meuse river flows northward on the edge of Belgium
Centre of heavy industry
Densely populated with many factories.
The first of three historic air pollution episodes occurred in eastern Belgium in a Meuse river Valley in 1930.
It has a total length of 925 km.
The Meuse is one of the five oldest rivers in the world.
Liege-wealthy and economically important.
EFFECTS ON ANIMALS
Cattle became sick in the byres, with the following symptoms:
-increased and superficial
-cyanosis of the mucous mebranes
Birds and rats also died
THE MEUSE RIVER VALLEY ENVIRONMENT EPISODE
The 20km river valley from Huy to liege is narrow(1-2 km) with steep narrow walls(60-80m)
one of the first documented episodes in modern times
1 st modern air pollution disaster
River valley, densely populated
Winter, high barometric pressure
Thermal temperature inversion
Affected the valley from 1-5 Dec,1930
INTENSITY OF MEUSE RIVER EPISODE
Belgium researchers stated;
“ Meuse River Valley Episode provided inconvertible evidence that air pollution could kill”
Dr. Kaj Roholm, Danish scientist and world's leading researcher on fluorine, determined that:
It was the fluorine gas from the nearby factories that was the killer
In 1931 report to Belgium Royal Academy of Medicine , it was noted that industrial and residential coal burning was the cause of deaths.
On December 3,first illness began
The first deaths were occurred on December 4
Eventually 60 people lost their lives
Domestic and wild animals were also affected
SO 2 , sulfur dioxide(9.6 to 38.4 ppm)
SO 4 sulfuric acid mist
Cattle, birds and rats died
Several thousands fell victim to this.
60 people died.
Of the deaths, forty-one took place on the north bank and nineteen on the south. The area around Engis was affected most.
6000 people became ill.
Death rate in the area was 10.5 times normal.
1st illness on dec 3
1st death on dec 4
Acute circulatory insufficiency
Voice tone alterations
Eye and respiratory track irritation
Nothing was done after the disaster but
“Air pollution was considered an unavoidable consequence of prosperity”
Commission warned that same accident would happen again.
The experience in Meuse Valley helped investigators better understand the cause and effect of air pollution during the Donora episode 18 years later
Unfortunately no measurements were made. There seems, however, little doubt that the major culprit was sulfur dioxide which, with the help of fog droplets oxidized to sulfuric acid mist with a particle size small enough to penetrate deeply into the lungs.
Small amount of fluorine was also present and it is hazardous to human health.
SCRUBBING WITH WATER:
Several Plants scrub the tail gas with water and report a reduction of 50-75% of sulfur
dioxide content. These plants are located where disposal of acidic waste water doesnot present a problem.
SCRUBBING WITH SODA ASH SOLUTIONS:
Some plants scrub the tail gases with soda ash solution, producing a marketable sodium bisulfite
SCRUBBING OF SULFUR DIOXIDE FROM WASTE GASES
Control of Sulphuric Acid mist
Air Pollution episode
PACKED BED SEPARATORS
WIRE-MESH MIST ELIMINATORS: