SFTV is almost always a decade or two behind prose SF.
That is true, but my point was that the gap between the two was particularly wide during the period of the New Wave.
In the case of TOS, television was a decade behind the cinema
--which was already pretty far behind literary SF in 1956.
In a nutshell, it's a metaphor for pollution.
Thank you. But once again: this is rather beside my point.
I didn't have any difficulty understanding
the novel. As other people have noted, Asimov's writing is nothing if not clear.
I have difficulty remembering
it. I just reviewed the plot by reading the novel's Wikipedia entry, and I still don't remember any of it.