Yuck! Your with your family in the
car, stuck in traffic and the the car in front of you is blasting out a
smelly, black cloud of
The car's fumes are not the
only thing stinking up the air! Dirty chemicals from factories,
fumes from engines, and gases from power plants foul the air
and threaten everyone's health. Air pollution is anything
that is in the air that should not be there. It can be a solid,
liquid, or gas. We can't always see air pollution, we can't
always smell it, and we can't always taste it. So how do we know
Where is Air Pollution
pollution is all around us. It has even been found at the North
Pole! Because air is always moving, air pollution doesn't always
stay is the area that it was made in.
have to use special equipment to test the air for pollution.
They use some machines to catch different gases to tell them
what they are and how much of the gas there is. Other machines
are used to catch tiny solid lumps from the air. They call the
solids "particulates." These
particulates can be dirt, smoke, or even pollen from plants.
These tiny flecks of dirt are so small that they make the
thickness of the hair on your head look huge! Scientists need to
use a strong microscope if they want to figure what out the
different pieces are. You can catch your own particulate
pollution with the help of an adult, by doing "Catch
Where Does Air Pollution
pollution comes from many places. It can come from cars, trucks,
trains, planes, and boats! In fact, practically any kind of
vehicle creates air pollution. It also comes from factories, gas stations, power
plants, and even our houses. At home, we cause air pollution
every time we turn on a light because we use electricity to
power the light. Grilling out in the backyard, also
causes air pollution.
One way in which we can't help but produce
air pollution is by breathing! Most creatures on earth breath in
oxygen and breathe our carbon dioxide which is an air pollutant.
A well known fact is that cows cause a lot of air pollution as
they produce methane gas when ever they "break wind," and
apparently they do this a lot!
Do You Produce
produces air pollution, the difference is that some people
produce more than others. It is really difficult to add up how
much pollution that you make in one day. Think about everything
that you have done today from when you woke up.
an electric alarm clock ring? If so, you have already
produced a tiny piece of air pollution as a power plant had to
burn a fossil fuel (Do you know the fossil fuels? They are:
coal, oil, and gas)
to make the electricity for the clock to work. Every time we burn
fossil fuels this produces air pollution.
you take a shower, use a blow dryer, have toast for breakfast?
Anytime that you use electricity, you create a little air
How did you get to
school? If you
walked, rode a bike or skateboard, or used rollerblades you did
a great job and produced no air pollution.
Did you ride
the bus or ride with friends? This is often called ride-sharing.
If you did rideshare, you made some pollution, but you get to
share it with the friends you traveled with so you still did a
Did your mom
or dad drive you to school? This produced the most pollution!
This is because the journey was made just for you and so you do
not get to share the amount of pollution with everyone else
traveling in the vehicle.
How else did you
create pollution? Try to keep a
logbook for a day to see how many times you produced air
pollution, which will include any time that you used electricity or
gas. Also count how many times you managed to find a different way that
cut down on air pollution. Give yourself 1 point every time you
do something to cut down on air pollution. Take 1 point away
every time you did not manage to find an alternative.
Electric alarm clock
Cereal instead of
Traveled with 2 more friends to practice
Total (3+ -1=2)
Why Should You Care About Air
Air pollution harms the environment, you, your
family, your friends, and possibly even your pets! Pollution can
make it difficult for us to breathe, it can make our eyes itchy
and our throats sore. People with a breathing problem called
asthma must be extra careful as polluted air can make them have
a dangerous asthma attack.
Air pollution also hurts wildlife.
Birds, animals, fish, insects, plants, in fact almost all
life on earth is harmed by
One way that wildlife can be affected is when the air pollutes
the rain that falls out of the sky. This is called acid rain, or
acid deposition. The rain falls out of the sky onto everything.
Acid rain doesn't hurt us when it lands on us, but it can
become a problem over time in some places. The water in a pond can slowly
change if acid rain keeps falling on it. Eventually
the fish, frogs, plants, insects, and other life may not find
the pond a very good home if this keeps on happening.
Our homes can also be
affected by certain types of pollution such as soot making the
siding dirty and acid rain slowly eating away at the stone.
How Can You Help?
There are many small things that you
can do to help cut down on air pollution. If we all start by
making a few
to the way we go about our lives, our air, in fact the entire
environment, may be a cleaner place for us to live in! See if you
have any more ideas to clean the air than the
50 ways to clean
the air we have listed.