The British have been concerned with air pollution for a long time. In 1661, at the request of King Charles II, John Evelyn wrote in Fumifugium, a plan to scatter the fumes that hung over London:
The immoderate use of (coal) exposes London to one of the foulest inconveniences and reproaches... The weary traveler, at many miles' distance, sooner smells than sees the city to which he repairs... This acrimonious soot... (ulcerates) the lungs, which is a mischief so incurable that it carries away multitudes by languishing and deep consumptions, as the bills of mortality do weekly inform us.
A few years later, Sir Thomas Browne, who may or may not be an ancestor of the author of this book, recognized that "mists and fog... hinder coal smoke from descending... it is drawn in by the breath, all which may produce bad effects, inquinate the blood, and produce catarrhs and