Environment: Smog Goes Global: A Bad Week in the Cities

THE world will end with a cough, a wheeze, a mass gasp of emphysema. So it seemed last week, a bad week, as dirty air smothered cities around the earth. Millions of smog-choked city dwellers began to feel like canaries in coal mines—obliged to perish in order to warn others of potential disaster. Rarely before had man's dependence on the fragile biosphere been so dramatically illustrated on a global scale.

In the U.S., polluted air hung like a filthy muslin curtain along the entire Atlantic Coast, from Boston south to Atlanta. Because of unusually...

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