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Generally speaking, there are two types of air pollution: indoor and outdoor. The former is bad for humans on a personal level because it can lead to a number of different and serious health problems. The latter is bad for the planet and for humans because it affects global warming, pollutes the air humans and animals breathe and can cause many health problems, as well as injuring the ecology of the planet. It is important to have air pollution control methods in place so these problems do not worsen.
Some air pollution is visible, while other types of air pollution are not. Smog, for example, is comprised of sulfur dioxide and is one of the more visible types of pollution seen hanging in the air over industrial cities around the world. Another contributor to pollution levels is carbon dioxide, and scientists say it is important to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide from power plants, automobiles and other human endeavors that involve the burning of such fuels as diesel, natural gas and gasoline to protect the environment and human health.
Air pollution control can be accomplished on a number of different levels. People can do their part as individuals by curtailing how much they drive their cars or how often they fly in planes, and increasing the amount of material they recycle. On a larger front, governments around the world are trying to promote air pollution control by discouraging or diminishing carbon emissions, and promoting energy conservation.
Scientists say one of the effects of air pollution is global warming. Some of the signs of global warming that can be seen include the melting of glaciers and of ice at the North and South Poles. Without air pollution control, more hurricanes could occur in the future than the planet currently sees, and sea levels could rise. Droughts could occur more frequently, leading to the spread of diseases and the need for more water sources. It is feared that without further conservation efforts and air pollution controls, some species of animals and insects could become extinct.
Efforts to control air pollution are not new, with some efforts dating back about 100 years. A type of air pollution in the early 14th century was recognized as more of an annoyance than a health hazard, when England’s King Edward I objected to the foul odors spewing from craftsmen’s coal-burning furnaces. A more modern realization related to air pollution is that the problem has serious consequences for human health.
One development that is in direct response to concerns over pollution is the idea of a "walking city" -- an old concept that has gained some popularity as of late. Essentially, the notion is that developing an area so that people live, shop and work in roughly the same area will reduce the time they spend in cars -- they can either walk everywhere they need to go or drive very short distances.
With the development of the automobile came the ability of people to live farther and farther away from where they work and the commuting culture we now have was born. It is not uncommon to visit with people who spend an hour driving to work each morning, and that state of affairs tends to concern environmentalists.