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Air Pollution is addition of harmful substances to the atmosphere resulting in damage to the environment human health and quality of life One of many forms of pollution air pollution occurs inside homes schools and offices in cities across continents and even globally Air pollution makes people sick it causes breathing problems and promotes cancer and it harms plants animals and the ecosystems in which they live Some air pollutants return to earth in the form of acid rain and snow which corrode statues and buildings damage crops and forests and make lakes and streams unsuitable for fish and other plant and animal life Pollution is changing the earths atmosphere so that it lets in more harmful radiation from the sun At the same time our polluted atmosphere is becoming a better insulator preventing heat from escaping back into space and leading to a rise in global average temperatures Scientists predict that the temperature increase referred to as global warming will affect world food supply alter sea level make weather more extreme and increase the spread of tropical disease Most air pollution comes from one human activity burning fossil fuels natural gas coal and oil to power industrial processes and motor vehicles Among the harmful chemical compounds this burning puts into the atmosphere are carbon dioxide carbon monoxide nitrogen oxides sulfur dioxide and tiny solid particles including lead from gasoline additives called particulates Between 1900 and 1970 motor vehicle use rapidly expanded and emissions of nitrogen oxides some of the most damaging pollutants in vehicle exhaust increased 690 percent When fuels are incompletely burned various chemicals called volatile organic chemicals also enter the air Pollutants also come from other sources For instance decomposing garbage in landfills and solid waste disposal sites emits methane gas and many household products give off Volatile organic chemicals Some of these pollutants also come from natural sources For example forest fires emit particulates and Volatile organic chemicals into the atmosphere
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