Articles on Air pollution

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False-color image of ozone concentrations above Antarctica on Oct. 2, 2015. NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

Is Earth’s ozone layer still at risk? 5 questions answered

Earth's ozone layer shields us from harmful ultraviolet radiation. Nations have been working to reduce ozone-depleting chemicals since the 1980s, but recent studies show that there is still work to do.
A trash truck discharges solid waste at the South East Reserve Recovery Facility’s refuse storage pit in Long Beach, California, August 24, 2010. AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

Garbage in, garbage out: Incinerating trash is not an effective way to protect the climate or reduce waste

Most Americans don't want incinerators in their neighborhoods, so waste management companies are burning trash in other facilities such as cement kilns. Is this a sustainable way to deal with garbage?
Gates of the Arctic National Park, Alaska. Plants on the Arctic tundra absorb mercury from the air, then transfer it to soil when they die. Paxson Woelber

Mercury from industrialized nations is polluting the Arctic – here’s how it gets there

How do mercury emissions from industrialized countries reach the remote Arctic? Recent research shows that plants on the tundra absorb mercury vapor through their leaves, then pass it into soil.
Flames and smoke shroud State Route 33 as a wildfire burns in Ventura, California, Dec. 5, 2017. Daniel Dreifuss via AP

Exposure to wildfire smoke: 5 questions answered

Intense wildfires in southern California are triggering air quality alerts. Health experts know surprisingly little about how inhaling smoke affects human health, especially over the long term.
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.

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