An inversion layer hangs over residents of Boulder, Colorado.
Click on image for full size
Source: T. Eastburn
Pollution's Effects on Us
The air is shared by everyone and everything on Earth. Living things breathe it and depend upon on it for life. When pollution is added to it, we canít stop breathing or escape from it. After all, air is everywhere on Earth.
Unfortunately, breathing polluted air can harm oneís health. It can cause coughs, burning eyes, breathing problems, and even death in the most severe cases. Some pollution you can see. Have you ever seen a dirty sky? If so, you know it turns an ugly brownish or grayish shade and reduces visibility. It can even make city buildings or nearby mountains hard to see.
It is important to know that air pollution does not just harm humans. Just like people, wildlife and forests can become sick from air pollution. Our water and property made of stone or metal can be damaged by acid rain. This happens when pollution mixes with raindrops and makes them acidic as they fall to Earth.
Some people think that because we all share the air, no one will take care of it. This idea is called the "Tragedy of the Commons." A lot has been done to improve air quality in recent years, but we still have much to learn and do if we want to have cleaner and safer air.
Last modified February 17, 2006 by Teri Eastburn.
You might also be interested in:
Air pollution comes from many sources. Some natural sources affect air quality. Volcanoes produce sulfur, chlorine, and ash. Wildfires make smoke and carbon monoxide. Cattle and other animals release methane...more
Would you be surprised if smoke from a fire stopped you from seeing nearby buildings or mountains? Probably not. What if there was no fire, and a brown or gray haze filled the sky. Would you be surprised...more
Have you heard about rivers, lakes, or streams becoming polluted? Sometimes the pollution is from trash or from dangerous things spilled into the water. However, sometimes the source of water pollution...more
During the Summer Olympics in Beijing, China, scientists have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to observe what happens in the atmosphere a heavily populated part of the world cuts back on everyday industrial...more
Air pollution comes from some industrial activities. Scientists know that aerosols from pollution can change the way that clouds are formed. Learning more about how clouds are formed in the Southeast Pacific...more
Scientists from the National Center of Atmospheric Research (NCAR) have published a new paper about how wildfires affect air pollution. They have learned that wildfires make ozone levels high enough to...more
Have you ever heard of acid rain? Acid rain is what happens when some types of air pollution is washed out of the sky by rain. Sometimes, the pollution can be washed out by snow, sleet, hail, mist or fog,...more