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The Spring 2011 issue of The Earth Scientist is focused on modernizing seismology education. Thanks to IRIS, you can download this issue for free as a pdf. Print copies are available in our online store.

Pollution's Effects on Us

The air is shared by everyone and everything on Earth. Living things breathe it and depend upon on it for life. When pollution is added to it, we canít stop breathing or escape from it. After all, air is everywhere on Earth.

Unfortunately, breathing polluted air can harm oneís health. It can cause coughs, burning eyes, breathing problems, and even death in the most severe cases. Some pollution you can see. Have you ever seen a dirty sky? If so, you know it turns an ugly brownish or grayish shade and reduces visibility. It can even make city buildings or nearby mountains hard to see.

It is important to know that air pollution does not just harm humans. Just like people, wildlife and forests can become sick from air pollution. Our water and property made of stone or metal can be damaged by acid rain. This happens when pollution mixes with raindrops and makes them acidic as they fall to Earth.

Some people think that because we all share the air, no one will take care of it. This idea is called the "Tragedy of the Commons." A lot has been done to improve air quality in recent years, but we still have much to learn and do if we want to have cleaner and safer air.

Last modified February 17, 2006 by Teri Eastburn.

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The Fall 2009 issue of The Earth Scientist, which includes articles on student research into building design for earthquakes and a classroom lab on the composition of the Earthís ancient atmosphere, is available in our online store.

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