Three Quirky Projects Make Art Out Of China's Polluted Air loading...
Three Quirky Projects Make Art Out Of China's Polluted Air
Filthy air has inspired Chinese citizens to speak out—and in some cases, to create art.
How an Uninhabited Island Got the World’s Highest Density of Trash loading...
How an Uninhabited Island Got the World’s Highest Density of Trash
Isolation protects the island from human intrusion—but not 18 tonnes of plastic.
Mysterious Shark Killer (Partially) Identified loading...
Mysterious Shark Killer (Partially) Identified
Scientists have discovered a surprising culprit behind a rash of shark strandings in California and elsewhere, but many questions remain.
Three Reasons to Believe in China's Renewable Energy Boom loading...
Three Reasons to Believe in China's Renewable Energy Boom
It has atrocious air pollution. It fears climate change. And it wants to be a "manufacturing monster" in renewables too.
China's Surprising Solutions to Clear Killer Air loading...
China's Surprising Solutions to Clear Killer Air
More than a million people are thought to die a year from air pollution in China, but now the country is fighting back with innovative solutions.
This Bug Can Eat Plastic. But Can It Clean Up Our Mess? loading...
This Bug Can Eat Plastic. But Can It Clean Up Our Mess?
Scientists have discovered that wax worms can eat plastic bags. Could that help us reduce plastic pollution?
See the Best and Worst Places for Breathable Air in the U.S. loading...
See the Best and Worst Places for Breathable Air in the U.S.
New rankings of air quality in cities show the cleanest air isn't always rural.
Quirky Portraits of One Town's Trash—And the People Who Take Care of It loading...
Quirky Portraits of One Town's Trash—And the People Who Take Care of It
A photographer’s work spotlights waste management workers in southern Italy.
The World's Most Polluted River Revealed in Photos loading...
The World's Most Polluted River Revealed in Photos
A recent high court ruling in India that gives the Ganges personhood status may lead to environmental redemption.
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.
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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