• Short Summary

    Tokyo -- the world's largest city -- has recently been threatened by a new kind of air pollution.

  • Description

    Tokyo -- the world's largest city -- has recently been threatened by a new kind of air pollution.

    A few weekends ago, thousands of people were affected by a sudden gas saturation in the Tokyo atmosphere which set them coughing and rubbing their eyes.

    In one area of the city, several students on an athletic field collapsed and were taken away in ambulances. Altogether, about eleven thousand persons were reported to have been affected and a week later, one girl was still hospitalised. doctors do not yet know what ultimate effects the pollution may have on the human body.

    Scientists believe this latest hazard is something called "optico-chemical" smog, created by the hot summer sun beating on the layers of fumes from automobile exhausts and factory chimneys.

    Japanese officials are taking emergency action. New measuring devices to register air pollution are being introduced and the old ones already in place are being monitored with increased frequency. Even before the appearance of the new white smog, Tokyo had a severe air pollution problem.

    Posters at some schools caution students to report to the infirmary if they feel dizziness or headache, and Tokyo's trees and shrubbery have withered in the bad air. The pine trees in Emperor Hirohito's palace grounds have been dying because of automobile exhaust and have to replaced regularly.

    During the past week, the Japanese Diet debated the smog problem. Emergency meetings have been held and the Governor of Tokyo is considering banning cars from some of the downtown areas.

    However, thousands of new cars are registered in Tokyo every week, traffic jams grow, and on most days a curtain of smog hangs over the whole city.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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