Definition of Air Pollution
Air pollution can be defined as the presence of chemicals or toxic compounds (including those of biological origin) in the air at levels posing a risk to health. In an even broader sense, air pollution means the presence of chemicals or compounds in the atmosphere that are not usually present and that lower the quality of air or cause detrimental changes to the quality of life ( such as the alteration of the ozone layer causing global warming). The Earth is surrounded by a layer of air (composed of various gases) called atmosphere. The atmosphere helps protect the Earth and allows life to exist. Otherwise, we would be burned by the intense heat of the sun during the day or frozen by the very low temperatures at night.
1272 - King Edward I of England bans use of “sea coal”
1377 – 1399 - Richard II restricts use of coal
1413 – 1422 - Henry V regulates/restricts use of coal
1661 - By royal command of Charles II, John Evelyn of the Royal Society publishes “Fumifugium; or the Inconvenience of the Air and Smoke dissipated; together with Some Remedies Humbly Proposed”
1784—Watt’s steam engine; boilers to burn fossil fuels (coal) to make steam to pump water and move machinery
Smoke and ash from fossil fuels by power plants, trains, ships: coal (and oil) burning = smoke, ash
1907 - Formation of the predecessor to the Air & Waste Management Association
1930 - 1950’s - Air Pollution Episodes
1955 First Federal Air Pollution Control Act - funds for research (USA)
1960 Motor Vehicle Exhaust Act - funds for research (USA)
1963 Clean Air Act (USA)
-Three stage enforcement
-Funds for state and local agencies
1965 Motor Vehicle Air Pollution Control Act (USA)
-Emission regulations for cars to begin in 1968
1967 Air Quality Act (USA)
-Control technique documents
1970 Clean Air Act Amendments (USA)
-National Ambient Air Quality Standards
-New Source Performance Standards
In October 1948, Donora, Pennsylvania, was enveloped in a deadly mist.
In five days, nearly half of the city's 14,000 residents have had severe respiratory or cardiovascular problems. It was hard to breathe. The death toll has risen to nearly 40.
Disturbing photos show the streets of Donora hidden under a thick layer of gray smog. A pocket of hot air had passed over the city, trapping colder air and sealing pollutants.
Donora was no stranger to pollution. The steel and zinc smelters impregnated the city with dirty air. But the air pocket has left pollutants without escape route. They sat cooking in the streets, where the inhabitants inspired them with lethal doses.
The situation in Donora was extreme, but it reflected a trend. Air pollution has become a severe consequence of industrial growth across the country and the world.
Crises like that of Donora have been widely publicized. people became aware and began to act.
Scientists have begun to study the link between air pollution and health. States have started to legislate to reduce air pollution. And in 1970, a pivotal year, Congress passed the amendments to the Clean Air Act that led to the establishment of national air quality standards.
Today, decision-makers and air quality leaders rely on state-of-the-art scientific knowledge to set regulations and make management decisions to reduce and control air pollution through profitable approaches.
EPA's air, climate and energy research is driving much of this research, producing results and developing a technology essential to our understanding of air pollution. For the most common pollutants, research is compiled and synthesized every five years by EPA scientists to assess the adequacy of air regulations.
The EPA seeks to identify specific chemicals as well as specific sources (such as cars, trucks and power plants) that may affect air quality. A major goal is to identify the sources most responsible for health risks.
For example, EPA studies have shown that tiny particles released when gas, oil and other fossil fuels are burned harm the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. We now know that these particles are particularly harmful for the most vulnerable populations: young people, the elderly and people with pre-existing health problems.
The research program proposes an innovative and interdisciplinary approach to the problem of air pollution. EPA scientists, engineers and renowned physicians work in partnership with scientific experts from the United States and around the world to address the many challenges of air quality management.
Types of Air Pollution
Air pollution is one of those forms that refers to the contamination of the air, whether indoors or outdoors. A physical, biological or chemical alteration of the ambient air can be described as pollution. This happens when harmful gases, dust or smoke enter the atmosphere and prevent plants, animals and humans from surviving when the air becomes dirty. Air pollution can be further classified into two sections: visible air pollution and invisible air pollution. Another way of looking at air pollution could be any substance that could harm the atmosphere or the well-being of living things that survive. The maintenance of all that lives is due to a combination of gases which collectively form the atmosphere; the imbalance caused by increasing or decreasing the percentage of these gases can be detrimental to survival.
Personal air exposure
-It refers to the exposure to dust, fumes and gases to which a person exposes himself when he abandons himself to smoking
Occupational air exposure
-It represents the type of exposure of individuals to a potentially hazardous concentration of aerosols, vapors and gases in their work environment.
Community air exposure
-This is the most serious, complex, includes various varieties of pollution sources, meteorological factors and a wide variety of adverse effects on society, the economy and health.
Indoor Air Pollution
‘Indoor air’ is the air in a building such as your home, classroom, office, shopping center, hospital or gym. We call "indoor air pollution" if the indoor air is contaminated by smoke, chemicals, odors or particles. Unlike outdoor air pollution, the effect of indoor air pollution is related to health and poses fewer environmental problems.
In colder areas, construction and heating methods use tight spaces, reduced ventilation and energy efficient heating. Sometimes synthetic building materials, household cleaning products odors and furniture chemicals can all be trapped inside. As less fresh air gets inside, the concentration of pollutants such as pollen, tobacco smoke, mold, pesticides, radon, asbestos and carbon monoxide trapped inside building increases and people breathe it.
Natural air pollution
When we think of pollution, we tend to think that it is a problem that humans cause by ignorance or stupidity - and this is certainly true from time to time. However, it is important to remember that some types of air pollution are produced naturally. Forest fires, erupting volcanoes and gases emitted by the radioactive decay of rocks in the Earth are just three examples of natural air pollution that can have extremely disruptive effects on people and the planet.
Forest fires (which often start naturally) can produce huge amounts of smoke drifting for miles over nearby cities, countries or continents. Giant volcanic eruptions can release so much dust into the atmosphere that they block large amounts of sunlight and cool the entire planet for a year or more. Radioactive rocks can release a gas called radon when they decompose, which can accumulate in the basements of buildings and have serious consequences on people's health.
All of these things are examples of serious air pollution that occur without any human help; Although we can adapt to natural air pollution and try to reduce the disruption it causes, we can never prevent this from happening completely. In the rest of this article, we will consider only the types of pollution "unnatural": the problems caused by people and those we can solve.
Local air pollution
Have you ever been on a train with someone who suddenly decided to clean or nail polish? Acetone (a solvent in nail polish remover) is a VOC (Volatile Organic Compound), so it evaporates and spreads very quickly, quickly lifting the nose of anyone sitting nearby. Open a box of bright paint in your house and start painting a door or window and your house will quickly fill with a harmful chemical stink: VOCs again! If you toast toast for too long, you turn on the bread, fill your kitchen with sooty clouds (particles) and eventually trigger a smoke detector or carbon monoxide detector. These are three everyday examples of how air pollution can function on a very local scale: causes and effects are closely linked in space and time. Localized air pollution like this is the easiest type to fight.
Neighborhood air pollution
The quality of your air depends on where you live: the air is generally much cleaner in rural areas than in urban areas, for example, where factories, chemical plants and power plants are more likely to 'be localized and traffic levels much higher. The degree of cleanliness of your neighborhood may also depend on temperature, especially if you live in a place subject to temperature inversions and smog. Air pollution problems in neighborhoods are often better addressed by local community campaigns.
Regional air pollution
Tall chimneys designed to disperse pollution do not always have this effect. If the wind is generally blowing in the same direction, pollution can be systematically deposited in another city, region or country downwind. At times, air pollution has descended to Earth as rain or contaminated snow, which dissolves in streams or oceans, causing so-called atmospheric deposition. In other words, the pollution of the air becomes the pollution of the water. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), "Atmospheric deposition has been shown to be a major source of pollutants for the Great Lakes and other water bodies." Acid rain (see box below) is the best-known example of atmospheric deposition.
It is often said that pollution knows no boundaries - and this is especially true of air pollution, which can easily get out of a country or continent where it is produced and cause a problem to someone else. Air pollution that moves from one country to another is called "transboundary pollution"; Acid rain is one such example, as is fallout (the contaminated dust that falls on the Earth after a nuclear explosion). When the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded in Ukraine in 1986, the wind quickly dispersed the air pollution it produced - but only by blowing a cloud of toxic radioactive gas over a large part of Europe and causing problems several other countries (70% of the fallout was in neighboring Belorussia).
Global air pollution
It is hard to imagine anything so serious and serious that could harm the whole planet, but, strange as it may seem, we all act like this, contributing to issues such as global warming. planet and damage to the ozone layer. (two separate questions that are often confused).
Every time you get in a car, turn on the lights, turn on your TV, take a shower, prepare a meal in the microwave, or use the energy from burning a fossil fuel such as fuel oil, coal, or almost natural gas This certainly adds to the problem of global warming and climate change: unless this energy is produced in an environmentally-friendly way, the energy you use probably releases carbon dioxide in the air. Although it is not an obvious pollutant, carbon dioxide has gradually accumulated in the atmosphere, along with other chemicals called greenhouse gases. Together, these gases act as a blanket around our planet that slowly raises the global average temperature, causing the climate (the long-term configuration of our climate) to change, and producing a variety of different effects on the natural world. . , including rising sea level. More in our main article on global warming and climate change.
Global warming is a truly dramatic effect of human air pollution, but that does not mean that it is an insoluble problem. People have already managed to solve another huge air pollution problem that has hit the world: the damage to a part of the atmosphere called the ozone layer. At ground level, ozone is an air pollutant - but the ozone that exists in the stratosphere (very high in the atmosphere) is exactly the opposite: it's a perfectly natural chemical that protects us as sunscreen, blocking some of the sun's harmful ultraviolet light. radiation. During the 20th century, people began to use large amounts of chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) because they worked very well to cool chemicals in refrigerators and propellants in aerosols or whatever the box). In 1974, scientists Mario Molina and Sherwood Rowland suggested that chlorofluorocarbons attack and destroy the ozone layer, producing holes that let in dangerous ultraviolet light. In the 1980s, huge "ozone holes" began to appear over Antarctica, pushing many countries to join together and sign an international agreement called the Montreal Protocol, which quickly eliminated the use of CFCs. As a result, the ozone layer, although still damaged, is expected to recover by the end of the 21st century.
Sources of Air Pollution
When you think of air pollution, you probably think of human activities, such as coal-fired plants and emissions from cars, planes and boats. But air pollution also comes from natural sources. Volcanoes are an excellent example of a source of natural pollution; they produce large quantities of particles and gases and the eruptions send them into the atmosphere. Forest fires are a natural process that also produces large amounts of potentially harmful gases and particles.
Regardless of the source, pollution can enter the air in two ways. Point source pollution occurs when air pollutants come from a single source of origin, such as industrial chimneys in a single plant. Non-point source pollution occurs when air pollutants come from many sources, such as all cars in the United States.
Since not all sources of pollution are the same, the effects of pollutants also vary. Primary pollutants are those that cause direct damage or that can react to form harmful substances in the atmosphere. Secondary pollutants are the harmful substances created by the reactions between primary pollutants and the components of the atmosphere.
Top-ten gases in air pollution
- Sulfur dioxide: When sulfur (spelled "sulfur" in some countries) burns with oxygen from the air, sulfur dioxide (SO2) is produced. Coal-fired power plants are the world's largest source of sulfur dioxide air pollution, contributing to smog, acid rain and health problems associated with lung disease.
- Carbon monoxide: This very dangerous gas is formed when fuels have too little oxygen to burn completely. It spits in car exhausts and can even reach dangerous levels inside your home if you have a gas boiler, stove or poorly maintained combustion device. (Always install a carbon monoxide detector if you burn fuel indoors.)
- Carbon dioxide: We all produce CO2 when we breathe out and plants such as crops and trees must "breathe" it to grow. However, carbon dioxide is also a greenhouse gas emitted by engines and power plants. Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, the atmosphere in the Earth's atmosphere has developed and contributed to the problem of global warming and climate change.
- Nitrogen oxides: Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and nitrogen oxide (NO) are pollutants that result indirectly from combustion when nitrogen and oxygen in the air react together. Nitrogen oxide pollution comes from the engines of vehicles and power plants and plays an important role in the formation of acid rain, ozone and smog. Nitrogen oxides are also "indirect greenhouse gases" (they contribute to global warming by producing ozone, a greenhouse gas).
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs): These carbon-based (organic) chemicals evaporate easily at normal temperatures and pressures and easily convert to gas. This is precisely why they are used as solvents in many household chemicals such as paints, waxes and varnishes. Unfortunately, they are also a form of air pollution: they are thought to have long-term (chronic) health effects and also play a role in the formation of ozone and smog.
- Particulates: It is the soot deposits in the air pollution that blacken the buildings and cause breathing difficulties. PM particles of different sizes are often referred to by the letters PM followed by a number. PM10 means that the soot particles are less than 10 microns (10 million meters or 10 μm in diameter). In the cities, most of the particles come from the fumes of the circulation.
- Ozone: Also called trioxygen, it is a type of oxygen gas whose molecules are composed of three oxygen atoms combined (it therefore has the chemical formula O3), instead of two atoms in conventional oxygen (O2) . In the stratosphere (upper atmosphere), a band of ozone ("the ozone layer") protects us by filtering the harmful ultraviolet rays (blue light of high energy) emanating from the Sun. At ground level, it is a toxic pollutant that can harm health. It forms when the sun hits a cocktail of other sources of pollution and is a key ingredient of smog.
- Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs): Once considered harmless, these gases were widely used in refrigerators and aerosols until they discovered they were damaging the Earth's ozone layer.
- Unburned hydrocarbons: Oil and other fuels are composed of organic compounds based on chains of carbon atoms and hydrogen. When they burn properly, they are completely converted to carbon dioxide and harmless water. when they burn incompletely, they can release carbon monoxide or float in the air in their unburned form, contributing to smog.
- Lead and heavy metals: Lead and other toxic "heavy metals" can be released into the air in the form of toxic compounds or aerosols (when solids or liquids are dispersed in the gases and transported in the air by them) in the form of smoke and fly ash (contaminants). dust waste) from incinerator stacks.
Causes of Air Pollution
- Burning of Fossil Fuels: Sulphur dioxide emitted by the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and other plant fuels is one of the main causes of air pollution. The pollution emitted by vehicles, including trucks, jeeps, cars, trains and aircraft, causes considerable pollution. We rely on them to meet our basic daily transportation needs. But, their excessive use kills our environment because dangerous gases pollute the environment. Carbon monoxide resulting from incorrect or incomplete combustion and generally emitted by vehicles is another major pollutant, as well as nitrogen oxides, which are produced both by natural processes and by humans.
- Agricultural activities: Ammonia is a very common product of agriculture-related activities and one of the most dangerous gases in the atmosphere. The use of insecticides, pesticides and fertilizers in agricultural activities has come a long way. They emit harmful chemicals in the air and can also cause water pollution.
- Exhaust from factories and industries: Manufacturing industries release large amounts of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, organic compounds and chemicals into the air, which affects the quality of the air. Manufacturing industries are present all over the world and no region has been affected. Oil refineries also release hydrocarbons and various other chemicals that pollute the air and cause soil pollution.
- Mining operations: Mining is a process in which underground minerals are extracted using large equipment. During the process, dust and chemicals are released into the air, resulting in considerable air pollution. This is one of the reasons for the deterioration of the health of workers and residents.
- Indoor air pollution: Household cleaning products, paint supplies emit toxic chemicals into the air and pollute the air. Have you ever noticed that once you paint the walls of your home, it creates a kind of smell that prevents you from breathing?
Suspended particulate matter popular by its acronym SPM, is another cause of pollution. Referring to the particles afloat in the air, SPM is usually caused by dust, combustion etc.
Effects of Air Pollution(on plant, animal, human being, earth)
The Effects of Air Pollution On Earth
- Global warming: Another direct effect is the immediate changes that the world is witnessing as a result of global warming. With rising temperatures worldwide, rising sea levels and melting ice from colder regions and icebergs, displacement and habitat loss have already signaled an impending disaster if Preservation and standardization measures are not undertaken in the near future.
- Acid Rain: Harmful gases such as nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides are released into the atmosphere when burning fossil fuels. When it rains, the water droplets combine with these atmospheric pollutants, become acidic and then fall on the ground in the form of acid rain. Acid rain can cause serious damage to people, animals and crops.
- Eutrophication: Eutrophication is a condition in which a large amount of nitrogen present in certain pollutants develops on the surface of the sea, turns into algae and negatively affects fish, plants and animal species. The green algae present on lakes and ponds are solely due to the presence of this chemical.
- Effect on Wildlife: Like humans, animals also face devastating effects of air pollution. Toxic chemicals in the air can force wildlife to move and change their habitat. Toxic pollutants are deposited on the surface of the water and can also affect marine animals.
- Depletion of Ozone layer:Ozone exists in the Earth's stratosphere and is responsible for protecting humans from harmful ultraviolet (UV) light. The Earth's ozone layer is depleted by the presence of chlorofluorocarbons, hydrochlorofluorocarbons in the atmosphere. As the ozone layer will become thin, it will emit harmful rays on Earth and can cause problems with the skin and eyes. UV rays can also affect crops.
The Effects of Air Pollution on Human Health
Air pollution has serious effects on human health. Depending on the level of exposure and the type of inhaled pollutant, these effects can range from simple symptoms such as coughing and irritation of the respiratory tract to acute conditions such as asthma and chronic lung disease.
Prolonged exposure to many air pollutants can cause skin problems and irritation, and various forms of cancer can develop after inhalation of air contaminants. Do not overlook the potential diseases caused by air pollution.
Air pollutants with serious negative effects on human health can be classified as toxic and non-toxic.
The Effects of Air Pollution on Animals and Plants
The impact of air pollution on animals is more or less similar to that of humans. Chronic poisoning results from the ingestion of contaminated fodder by atmospheric pollutants. Of the metal contaminants, arsenic, lead and molybdenum are important. Fluoride is another pollutant responsible for fluorosis in animals. A number of farm animals have been poisoned by fluoride and arsenic in North America. Bone damage in animals due to excess fluorine has also been reported.
Air pollution has caused considerable damage to trees, fruits, vegetables, flowers and vegetation in general. The total annual cost of facility damage caused by air pollution in the United States alone has been estimated at between $ 1 billion and $ 2 billion. The first most dramatic damage was observed in the total destruction of vegetation by sulphur dioxide in the surrounding areas.
When the absorption of sulphur dioxide exceeds a particular level, the cells become inactive and are killed, resulting in tissue collapse and leaf drying. Cotton, wheat, barley and apple are more sensitive to this pollutant. Fluorides are responsible for various types of injury in plants. The leaves of apple, apricot, fig, peach and prune are more sensitive to fluoride suspended in the air. Fluorides appear to interfere with photosynthesis and plant respiration.
Smog also causes damage to plants. A similar impact of ozone can be seen in plant lesions. Chlorine, ammonia, hydrogen sulphide, etc., are also harmful to vegetation.
Solutions for Air Pollution
- Use public mode of transportation: Encourage people to use more and more public transportation to reduce pollution. Also try to carpool. If you and your colleagues come from the same locality and you have the same hours, you can explore this option to save energy and money.
- Conserve energy:Turn off the fans and lights when you go out. Large amounts of fossil fuels are burned to produce electricity. You can preserve the environment from degradation by reducing the amount of fossil fuels to burn.
- Understand the concept of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle: Do not throw away objects that are of no use to you. In fact reuse them for another purpose. For e.g. you can use old jars to store cereals or pulses.
- Emphasis on clean energy resources:Clean energy technologies like solar, wind and geothermal are all the rage these days. Governments in various countries provide subsidies to consumers who want to install solar panels at home. This will greatly contribute to reducing air pollution.
- Use energy efficient devices: CFL lamps consume less electricity than their counterparts. They live longer, consume less electricity, reduce their electricity bills and also help you reduce pollution by consuming less energy.
Several attempts have been made worldwide, at the personal, industrial and governmental levels, to reduce the intensity of air pollution and to restore a balance in the proportions of base gases. It is a direct attempt to slow global warming. We are witnessing a series of innovations and experiments aimed at alternative and unconventional solutions to reduce pollutants. Air pollution is one of the biggest mirrors of human madness and a challenge we face in looking to the future.
How can we solve the problem of air pollution?
As we saw in the last section, air pollution involves different problems at different scales. In other words, it is not a single problem but many different problems. Solving a problem like passive smoking (how a person's cigarette smoke can harm others' health) is very different from tackling a problem like global warming, even though they both involve air pollution and have some things in common (both of us need to think about how our behavior can affect others in the short and long term and act with more consideration). In general, air pollution is combated by a mix of technological solutions, laws and regulations, and behavioral changes.
It's very easy to criticize power plants, factories and vehicles that emit polluting gases into the atmosphere, but we almost all depend on those things - in the end, it's the people who pollute. The resolution of air pollution is also a challenge because many people invest heavily in the status quo (continuing to live in the world as it is today). Growing awareness of issues such as air pollution and global warming is slowly forcing the shift to cleaner technologies, but the world remains firmly locked in its old ways of pollution.
Let's be optimistic, though. Just as technology has caused the problem of air pollution, it can also provide solutions. Cars equipped with conventional gasoline engines are now systematically equipped with catalytic converters that remove some (but not all) of the pollutants from the exhaust. Power plants are equipped with electrostatic smoke collectors that use static electricity to extract dirt and soot from gases that drift into chimneys; over time, it is likely that many older plants will also be equipped with carbon capture systems that trap carbon dioxide to reduce global warming.
Laws and regulations
Technology itself is just as likely to harm the environment as it is to help. That is why laws and regulations have played such an important role in solving the problem of pollution. Many previously polluted cities now have relatively clean air and water, thanks largely to the anti-pollution laws enacted in the mid-20th century.
National laws have little help in dealing with transboundary pollution (when a country's air pollution affects neighboring countries or continents), but that does not mean that the law is useless. The creation of the European Union (currently comprising about thirty different countries) has led to many European-wide environmental laws, called directives. These require member countries to adopt their own national environmental laws, which are broadly similar, and which ultimately cover the entire European region. Other successful international laws include the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (1979), which helped reduce sulfur dioxide emissions from power plants and, of course, the Montreal Protocol, which enabled 196 countries to unite to fight the depletion of the ozone layer. Unfortunately, attempts to control global warming through international laws and agreements have so far been less successful.
Raising awareness and changing behavior
Clean technologies can combat polluting technologies and laws can force polluters to clean up their behavior - but none of this would happen without people being aware of the pollution and its harmful effects. Sometimes horrible tragedies (like the London smog episode of 1952 or the Chernobyl disaster) are needed to act quickly. Often, we pollute the environment without even realizing it: how many people know that taking a shower or ironing a shirt can release indoor air pollution because of the hot water they breathe immediately, example? It is very important to help people understand the causes and effects of pollution and what they can do to tackle the problem. That's why I'm writing these words now and probably why you're reading them.
What can I do to help reduce air pollution?
So now you know the problems, but what's the solution? Here are ten simple things you can do that will make a difference (however small) to the problem of air pollution.
- Save water when you can: Producing fresh, clean water requires enormous amounts of energy. Reducing waste water is another good way to save energy and reduce pollution.
- Cut the car: Sometimes we have to use cars, but often we can get a bus or a train or (for shorter distances) walk or cycle. It's particularly important to avoid car use when smog is bad in your city.
- Cut out garden bonfires: A bonfire in the garden can contain up to 350 times more benzpyrene, a carcinogenic chemical, than cigarette smoke. Having a bonfire is one of the most selfish things you can do in your neighborhood. Compost your garden waste, bury it or throw it away in another way.
- Never burn household waste: If you burn plastic, you release horrible toxic chemicals into the local environment, some of which will be sucked up your own nose! Recycle your trash instead.
- Garden organically: Do you want to spray pesticides on your dinner? So why spray them on your garden? You can control virtually all pests and diseases of the garden in an organic way that is more respectful of the environment. Buying organic food is a good option if you can not grow it yourself.
- Cut the chemicals: Do you really need to spray an air freshener to make your home pleasant? Yes, you fill your room with perfume, but you also smother it with chemical pollution. Why not just open a window instead? How many chemicals you buy should you really use? Why not try cleaning with microfiber cloths instead of using detergents?
- Use water-based paints and glues: Avoid the nasty solvents in paints, varnishes, and wood preservatives.
- Reduce, reuse, and recycle: Buying new stuff is fun, but reusing old things can be just as good.
- Don't smoke: Cigarettes contain an addictive chemical called nicotine that makes you want to go on smoking them. They cause all kinds of health problems, but they also cause very localized air pollution. Once again you're first in line.