Air pollution is a broad term applied to any chemical, physical (particulate matter), or biological agent that modifies the natural characteristics of the atmosphere.
The atmosphere is a complex, dynamic natural gaseous system that is essential to support life on planet earth.
Stratospheric ozone depletion due to air pollution has long been recognized as a threat to human health as well as to the earth's ecosystems.
Worldwide air pollution is responsible for large numbers of deaths and cases of respiratory disease.
Enforced air quality standards, like the Clean Air Act in the United States, have reduced the presence of some pollutants.
While major stationary sources are often identified with air pollution, the greatest source of emissions are actually mobile sources, principally the automobile.
There are many available air pollution control technologies and urban planning strategies available to reduce air pollution; however, worldwide costs of addressing the issue are high.
The most immediate method of improving air quality would be the use of bioethanol fuel, biodiesel, solar energy, and hybrid vehicle technologies.
The World Health Organization estimates that 4.6 million people die each year from causes directly attributable to air pollution.
Many of these mortalities are attributable to indoor air pollution.
Worldwide more deaths per year are linked to air pollution than to automobile accidents.
Research published in 2005 suggests that 310,000 Europeans die from air pollution annually.
Direct causes of air pollution related deaths include aggravated asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, lung and heart diseases, and respiratory allergies.