The Great Pacific Garbage Patch Isn’t What You Think It Is loading...
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch Isn’t What You Think It Is
It’s not all bottles and straws—the patch is mostly abandoned fishing gear.
Straw Wars: The Fight To Rid the Oceans Of Discarded Plastic loading...
Straw Wars: The Fight To Rid the Oceans Of Discarded Plastic
Americans use 500 million straws daily. Citizen activists want to shrink that number.
Why Do Seabirds Eat Plastic? It Smells Like Fish to Them loading...
Why Do Seabirds Eat Plastic? It Smells Like Fish to Them
A sweeping look at 10 species of seabirds gives insight into why their numbers have plummeted over the past 60 years.
Eerie Images of Hong Kong Concealed by Smog loading...
Eerie Images of Hong Kong Concealed by Smog
The city's expansive skyline is now barely visible beyond the thick pollution.
Lobster's Pepsi 'Tattoo' Highlights Major Ocean Problem loading...
Lobster's Pepsi 'Tattoo' Highlights Major Ocean Problem
The image is just one example of how ocean trash impacts marine wildlife.
These Energy-Saving Bulbs Are Making One Pollutant Much Worse loading...
These Energy-Saving Bulbs Are Making One Pollutant Much Worse
Though energy-efficient, bright rays from LEDs are contributing to a host of human and animal problems.
Birds Once Turned Black From Pollution—What That Teaches Us Today loading...
Birds Once Turned Black From Pollution—What That Teaches Us Today
Birds that flew over the U.S. Rust Belt during the 20th century have become a record for changing air quality.
This Heartbreaking Photo Reveals A Troubling Reality loading...
This Heartbreaking Photo Reveals A Troubling Reality
Photographer Justin Hofman's image of a seahorse swimming with a discarded cotton swab illustrates the issues of pollution in our oceans.
Does Air Pollution Reduce Cycling’s Health Benefits? loading...
Does Air Pollution Reduce Cycling’s Health Benefits?
Columbia University scientists use innovative tools to investigate how vehicle exhaust impacts cyclists.
About Air Pollution

Smog hanging over cities is the most familiar and obvious form of air pollution. But there are different kinds of pollution—some visible, some invisible—that contribute to global warming. Generally any substance that people introduce into the atmosphere that has damaging effects on living things and the environment is considered air pollution.

Carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, is the main pollutant that is warming Earth. Though living things emit carbon dioxide when they breathe, carbon dioxide is widely considered to be a pollutant when associated with cars, planes, power plants, and other human activities that involve the burning of fossil fuels such as gasoline and natural gas. In the past 150 years, such activities have pumped enough carbon dioxide into the atmosphere to raise its levels higher than they have been for hundreds of thousands of years.

 

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