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|See also the Air pollution category.|
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Air pollution is a chemical, particulate matter, or biological agent that modifies the natural characteristics of the atmosphere.
Worldwide air pollution is responsible for large numbers of deaths and cases of respiratory disease.[verification needed] While major stationary sources such as power plants are often identified with air pollution, the greatest source of emissions is actually mobile sources, mainly automobiles.[verification needed] Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, which contribute to global warming, have recently gained recognition as pollutants and internationally laws are being developed to reduce these emissions.
Particulates are a major cause of respiratory problems - these can be reduced by:
- cleaner burning,
- Post-treatment (e.g. catalytic converters in vehicles - which require low sulfur fuel), use of air filterss
- more efficient design such that less fuel is needed:
- Choice of fuel. Diesel is worse than standard petrol (aka gasoline) Biofuel is generally better than fossil fuel
Indoor air pollution
Indoor air pollution is a less visible threat, originating mainly in:
- offgassing from household products and construction materials containing synthetic compounds (especially in wealthy communities) and
- indoor fires for heating and cooking, including from kerosene and dung (the worst), wood (also bad) and charcoal (less harmful smoke).[verification needed]
Outdoor air pollution
The big smoke, newstatesman.com 09 December 2002 - the smogs of London that killed thousands in the 1950s.
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