What is air pollution?
Air pollution happens when harmful substances (pollutants) are introduced into the air inside or outside your home.
Some of the most common causes of outdoor air pollution are petrol and diesel vehicles, burning fuels for heat (for example, wood and coal) and industry.
Indoor air pollution can come from household chemicals, harmful gases like carbon monoxide or radon, building materials like asbestos or lead, pollen, mould or tobacco smoke.
Air pollution is harmful to our health and our planet.
How does air pollution impact our health?
Air pollution can cause a number of different health conditions including respiratory infections, heart disease and lung cancer which can lead to people dying at a younger age. There is no safe level of exposure to air pollution – both long-term exposure (over years) and short-term exposure (over hours) to low levels of air pollution can still impact on our health.
Some people are more likely to be affected by air pollution than others. These include:
While it's important for everyone to reduce their exposure to air pollution, people from these groups should be extra careful when air pollution levels are high.
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How does air pollution impact our environment?
Air pollution is bad for our health and for the environment around us. It also causes climate change. The same burning engines which produce carbon that heats our atmosphere also create particulates in the air which causes air pollution and affects our health.
This makes our efforts to tackle air pollution even more important because, if we tackle air pollution, we'll also be tackling some of the causes of climate change.
Together, we can work towards cleaner air for everyone.