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Air pollution is harming India’s wheat farmers. EPA

Want to feed the world? Tackle pollution from ozone and soot

Researchers have long known that man-made climate change will harm yields of important crops, possibly causing problems for the world’s food security. But new research shows air pollution doesn’t just…
Despite firefighters' efforts, the Hazelwood mine fire showered the nearby town of Morwell with pollution. AAP Image/Country Fire Authority

Dirty air, dodgy politics: why it’s easier to attack science than listen to Morwell fire death stats

I’m quite nervous about writing this. I’m going to stray from my familiar academic world into a political one, and it’s on an issue that may very well have killed several people. My reputation has already…
China’s air pollution reached crisis levels last year - but dealing with it could also mitigate climate change. William Veerbeek/Flickr

China’s plan to combat pollution will fight climate change too

Last month was the hottest May in terms of global surface temperature in a historical record that extends back 130 years, according to NASA, and with an El Niño forecast for the end of the year, we could…
The South Australian town of Port Pirie – home to a historic smelter – has some of the worst reported toxic air pollution in Australia. Photo by Imre Hillenbrand www.universalfocus.com.au

Australia’s dirty secret: who’s breathing toxic air?

Australians living in poorer communities, with lower employment and education levels, as well as communities with a high proportion of Indigenous people, are significantly more likely to be exposed to…
Taking precautions in Manchester. Dave Thompson/PA Archive

Understanding the pollution that’s hurting our health

The visibly high levels of pollution southern England is experiencing have drawn all of our attention to the ill-effects bad air quality can have on our health. Wherever we live, there is always a risk…
Sahara on the move. SeaWiFS/NASA/ORBIMAGE

Explainer: how does Saharan sand end up in the UK?

Being perched off the northwest edge of Europe means that people in the UK are not often reminded of the vast Sahara desert situated only a few thousand miles to the south. This great desert is located…
Spoiler alert. Richard Masoner/Cyclelicious

The particles big and small that make up Saharan smog

The UK news media has been buzzing with reports of air pollution alerts associated, at least in part, with the long-range transport of dust from the Sahara. Colleagues from Africa have asked why British…
Canary where? Stefan Rousseau/PA

Smog cloud is the same old pollution with a Saharan twist

It might seem strange to some that dust from the Sahara is falling on their cars in England. Stranger still, that Saharan sand is mixing with general air pollution from both continental Europe and the…
Forbidden forest to replace the Forbidden City? myheimu

Planting forests across Beijing could help combat pollution

Smog has become an unfortunate feature of Chinese city skylines. Air pollution has gotten so bad in recent years that citizens have rallied and the government has declared a war upon it. One weapon in…
Firefighters say they have the Hazelwood mine fire under control, but it’s still expected to burn for some time. AAP Image/Incident Control Centre hazelwood

Stronger laws needed to prevent another Hazelwood coal mine fire

The Hazelwood coal mine fire shows that Victoria’s current mining laws are not strong enough to prevent a similar disaster in the future. While the mine’s owner GDF SUEZ has vehemently rejected claims…
Tourists wear protective masks in smoggy Tiananmen Square on February 26, 2014, when the air quality was officially ‘hazardous’. EPA/Rolex Dela Pena

China can’t smother growing public demands to clear the air

Beijing has once again experienced extremely poor air quality, in what is becoming a regular event for the Chinese capital and other parts of the country. But has anything changed since the last “airpocalypse…
Firefighters battling the blaze at an open-cut coal mine in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, with Hazelwood power station in the background. AAP Image/Incident Control Centre Hazelwood

Victoria’s coal fire poses a rare challenge for firefighting

Victoria’s Hazelwood coal mine is still burning, nearly three weeks after it started from a grassfire during severe fire conditions. Police are currently investigating the original fire for arson. Meanwhile…
Some chemicals are still used in industrial products or are found in the environment. Solovyova Lyudmyla/Flickr

Toxic chemicals and pollutants affect kids' brain development

The news that toxic chemicals may be triggering a rise in autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and dyslexia in the United States has rightly prompted concern among parents. But what…
Have catalytic converters changed the cost-pollution-benefit in petrol’s favour? Mike Egerton/PA

Failure to test for the real world has left a polluting diesel legacy

Which is the better option for cars in cities, diesel or petrol-driven engines? As a report reveals the new fleet of green, hybrid electric-diesel buses in London produce less CO2 but more harmful pollutants…
Thick haze has shrouded Shanghai for the past week, in the latest instance of extreme air pollution. Wikimediacommons/Galaxyharrylion

Shanghai’s ‘airpocalypse’: can China fix its deadly pollution?

The current “airpocolypse” emergency in Shanghai - which has seen schoolchildren ordered indoors to protect them from the polluted air, flights grounded and companies ordered to cut production - comes…

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