Articles on Air pollution

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Pacific seabirds, such as this Great Blue Heron, can accumulate mercury in their bodies from the fish they eat. (Flickr)

Mercury decline in seabirds due to diet, not emissions controls

Mercury levels in seabirds living off the coast of British Columbia have been stable in recent years. New research suggests that this may be due to changes in their diet, not pollution control.
Fracking has led to an increase in truck traffic, one of the reasons for worsening trends on air quality in areas with oil and gas drilling. AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

How has the US fracking boom affected air pollution in shale areas?

The fracking boom has led to a large increase of hydrocarbon emissions in rural areas, reversing some regional air toxics trends.
Sensors distributed in 2016 as part of the Ambassad’air project to equip residents of Rennes. Damien Meyer/AFP

Fine-particulate pollution: can we trust microsensor readings?

The use of small devices to measure the presence of fine particles in the air is becoming widespread. They're one more weapon to fight against air pollution, but questions remain on their reliability.
Beijing residents with a variety of approaches to urban air pollution. Bryan Ledgard/Flickr

Can facemasks help reduce the negative health impacts of air pollution?

In recent years the number of motor vehicles – and the pollution they generate – has grown astronomically, leading some citydwellers to wear facemasks in the hopes of protecting themselves. So do they work?
Coal stockpile at a Milwaukee, Wisconsin power plant, 2011. Michael Pereckas

Even when it’s sitting in storage, coal threatens human health

A recent study shows that large piles of coal produce measurable quantities of fine particulate air pollution within a 25-mile radius. Covering coal trains and storage piles could reduce the problem.
Coal-fired power stations, metal smelting and vehicle emissions all pump mercury into the atmosphere. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz

Australia emits mercury at double the global average

Australia is the 16th-largest emitter of mercury in the world. A huge amount comes from coal power stations – and a new report argues our pollution guidelines are hopelessly lax.
Household air pollution in Nairobi is primarily driven by fuels burnt for cooking and lighting. EPA/Dai Kurakawa

Invisible and ignored: air pollution inside the homes of Nairobi’s residents

Research in Kenya’s capital found average levels of hazardous solid and liquid particles in the air within households were three times more than the WHO recommended maximum level.
A boy plays cricket among smoke in Karachi. Deaths from air pollution across the globe will increase as climate change accelerates. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro

Climate change set to increase air pollution deaths by hundreds of thousands by 2100

A new study suggests climate change will cause changes to patterns of ground-level ozone and smog – two deadly pollutants set to increase deaths by about 260,000 worldwide by the end of the century.
New Delhi’s pollution is among the worst in the world. Each autumn, when crops are burnt and wind speeds are low, it risks rising to crisis levels. Jean-Etienne Minh-Duy Poirrier

As another smog season looms, India must act soon to keep Delhi from gasping

In November 2016, smog in New Delhi was 16 times above safe levels. An Indian researcher dug into the data to find out why, and how India can keep its capital breathing safely.

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