What is the definition of smog?

In recent years, we have all been paying more and more attention to the air quality in our surroundings. None of us wants to expose ourselves to harmful conditions outside, inhale pollutant dust and damage our health. The effect of pollutants gathering around us is smog – a term that everyone is probably familiar with at this point. However, not everyone knows where the word actually comes from and how we should define it. Read our version of a smog definition and learn more about its history.

smog definition

Smog – definition and history

When creating a smog definition, it is worth looking into the name itself. It’s worth knowing that it dates back to the early 1900s – it’s a combination of the words “smoke” and “fog,” usually describing the fumes left over from burning coal, which was used in very large quantities in industrial areas. At the time, it was particularly troublesome in London (and that’s where the definition was formed), which was the heart of the Industrial Revolution that began to spread around the world. Unfortunately, nowadays smog can also be encountered in other corners of the world. Everywhere, it will mean air pollution that also reduces visibility – much like fog. There is also another type of smog that is even more widely spread these days – and that is photochemical smog. When sunlight reacts with nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds, airborne particles and ozone are formed, which at this altitude can harm people and animals just like the particulate matter in London’s smog.

smog definition

How can you protect yourself from smog?

Now that you know what the smog definition is, it’s worth considering how we can protect ourselves from its negative effects. First of all – nowadays it is very easy to monitor the air quality in the place where we live in real time. Online air quality maps such as Airly can show us where we can find where the nearest air quality sensor is located and check its readings. If we are concerned about the condition of our respiratory system, we can also, at higher concentrations of smog, wear sealed masks with filters, such as the N95, which will be effective in filtering out PM2.5 particles. However, if we don’t necessarily have to stay in a place where the air is heavily polluted – then we simply should avoid such places whenever possible.