Air pollution can be contaminants that exist as a gas mixed with the air or that are attached to or make up particles suspended in the air.
How did it get there?
Air pollution results when gases or particles containing hazardous substances are released to the air. There are many sources of air pollution including, emissions from smokestacks and landfills, explosions and fires, automobile exhaust, factory equipment leaks, and commercial products, such as paints or household cleaners. Liquid hazardous substances can cause air pollution when they are exposed to air and evaporate. Contaminants in surface soil can contribute to air pollution if the soil becomes airborne in the wind.
How does it hurt animals, plants and humans?
Air pollution can hurt animals and humans when they inhale contaminated air. It can cause respiratory problems as well as other health effects if contaminants are absorbed from the lungs into other parts of the body. Certain air contaminants can hurt animals and humans when they contact the skin. Plants rely on respiration for their growth and can also be hurt by exposure to contaminants in the air.
How can we clean it up?
The most effective approach for cleaning up air pollution is to prevent contaminants from being emitted at dangerous levels. Air pollution can be prevented by lowering emissions levels from automobiles and trucks and switching to more environmentally friendly commercial products. Factories that produce hazardous air pollution can install "scrubbers" or other devices on their smokestacks to remove contaminants before they enter the air outside the plant.