Pollution (Encyclopedia of Science)
Pollution refers to situations in which some material or some form of energy occurs in larger quantity than can be tolerated by humans, plants, or animals without suffering some kind of harm. Probably the best-known forms of pollution are air and water pollution, which are discussed below. But other forms of pollution also exist. For example, the term noise pollution has been used to describe the loud noise level of airplane takeoffs and landings, construction, highway traffic, boom boxes, and other modern-day machines. Similarly, the expression visual pollution has been used to describe areas so clogged with signs, billboards, and other objects that the beauty of the natural environment is diminished.
Natural and anthropogenic pollution
Pollution can be caused both by natural sources and humans. Volcanic eruptions are an example of natural sources of pollution. When a volcano explodes, it releases sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, solid particles, and other materials into the air at a much greater rate than is normally the case. Plants, animals, and humans may be killed or injured by these materials.
A concrete example of natural pollution can be found at an area known as the Smoking Hills, located in a remote wilderness in the Canadian Arctic. The local environment around Smoking Hills is virtually uninfluenced by humans. However, naturally...
(The entire section is 3021 words.)
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