Questions tagged [pollution]

The act of allowing leaving substances in the natural environment that may or may not be harmful, or the substances themselves.

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Is (or was) the air pollution in Beijing worse than "what the first responders at ground zero on 9/11 were breathing"?

...I'd rather spend a week in Chernobyl (maybe not right now) than say a week in Beijing when the air quality is literally so bad it's worse than what the first responders at ground zero on 9/11 were ...
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36 votes
3 answers
9k views

Did "fossil-fuel pollution [kill] three times as many people as COVID-19 did" in 2020?

Bill McKibben writes for The New Yorker in a March 18, 2022 article titled "In a World on Fire, Stop Burning Things" (emphasis added): Our species depends on combustion; it made us human, ...
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23 votes
0 answers
675 views

Does decreasing an urban speed limit from 50 km/h to 30 km/h increase air pollution?

Starting on 2021-08-30, the driving speed limit within the Paris municipality was reduced from 50 km/h to 30 km/h. There is a debate on the impact that this will have on air pollution. The Paris ...
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37 votes
3 answers
9k views

Are chemicals in plastic causing a significant reduction in fertility?

This story in the Guardian quotes Shanna Swan, professor of environmental medicine and public health at Mount Sinai school of medicine in New York City. She makes a number of claims about the impact ...
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-3 votes
1 answer
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Does one cup of coffee pollute as much as a 10km car drive?

I've heard such a statement made off-hand, and don't have any source for it, or any precision on type of coffee, preparation, what type of pollution is taken into account, etc. I'd like to know if ...
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9 votes
0 answers
588 views

Can cremating bodies cause black rain?

There is speculation that the mysterious black rain that Japan had a few months ago was from China cremating bodies, and in particular, mass cremations from coronavirus victims. 7 News: Coronavirus ...
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18 votes
1 answer
3k views

Does clean air transmit significantly more UV?

The following claim on a German weather forecasting site caught my eye: Der Himmel ist wieder einmal blitzblank geputzt, die Sonne scheint von früh bis spät, die Luft ist angenehm warm – da sollten ...
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2 votes
3 answers
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Have few, if any, studies on the health effects of particulate air pollution measured the actual exposure to particulates?

Air pollution is a major health concern worldwide. One of the major problems is the emissions caused by traffic such as nitrogen dioxide and the small particulates known as PM 2.5 (which are very ...
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28 votes
0 answers
6k views

Is pollution the main cause of Notre Dame Cathedral's deterioration?

A 2017 Time article discussing the crumbling, wearing out, and water damage of France's Notre Dame Cathedral prior to the 2019 fire writes (emphasis added): Notre Dame, which looms over the capital ...
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10 votes
1 answer
848 views

Is Bhutan the only carbon neutral/negative country?

Twitter moments recently had a moment about Bhutan being the only carbon neutral country in the world: Why Bhutan Is All Alone in the Carbon-Neutral Nation Club and one tweet in the Twitter moments ...
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11 votes
1 answer
846 views

Is the European NO₂ limit of 40 µg/m³ for outside air backed by strong evidence?

According to the Umwelt Bundesamt, the average annual limit for the NO₂ concentration is set to 40 µg/m³ with the intention to protect people with asthma, small children and older people, especially ...
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5 votes
1 answer
372 views

Is the Taylor oil spill on the scale of Deepwater Horizon?

According to CNN, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill leaked 176.4 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. By comparison, and also according to CNN, they say According to the [the Department ...
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6 votes
1 answer
654 views

Is Google causing 40% of the CO2 emission of all internet traffic?

In Switzerland we sometimes have not very well researched articles in the free newspaper '20 Minuten Friday'.They now claim in a video that Google is causing 40% of the CO2 emission of the internet ...
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15 votes
4 answers
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Is burning 1ha of grassland more environmentally damaging than 6000 cars?

In this video, around 10:50 Minutes, Allan Savory claims that: Now, if it does not decay biologically, it shifts to oxidation, which is a very slow process, and this smothers and kills grasses, ...
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6 votes
2 answers
913 views

Has the claim that there's a causal relationship between poor air quality and death been debunked?

The EPA and other regulatory bodies have long concluded there is a casual relationship between poor (ambient) air quality and death. This news article challenges that claim: researchers have finally ...
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14 votes
1 answer
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Does a cruise ship emit as much particulate per day as one million cars do?

According to an article on CBC: The report says that a mid-sized cruise ship can use as much as 150 tonnes of fuel each day, which emits as much particulate as one million cars. Is that right? That's ...
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23 votes
2 answers
2k views

Are drinking straws a minor source of ocean plastic pollution?

An opinion piece in Bloomberg: Plastic Straws Aren’t the Problem claims that drinking straws are a minor source of plastic pollution in oceans: Yet even if all those straws were suddenly washed ...
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7 votes
1 answer
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Does each car in inner London cost society £8,000 in health and environmental cost over its lifetime?

The topic of air quality is getting a load of attention in newspaper headlines in the days leading up to Clean Air Day (21st June, apparently). For example, The Independent reports a recent study on ...
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4 votes
1 answer
363 views

Is air pollution reaching a crisis point?

A recent report by the Lancet Commision on Pollution and Health led to some scary headlines in the news: Pollution linked to one in six deaths Global pollution kills 9m a year and threatens 'survival ...
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4 votes
2 answers
459 views

Does the DuPont/Denka plant in Lousiana emit 250,000 pounds of chloroprene annually?

I was a bit surprised when reading the following paragraph in the article "The Louisiana Environmental Apocalypse Road Trip": The risk of cancer in Reserve, a community founded by freed slaves, is ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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"In some cities, it's more dangerous to breathe than to smoke cigarettes."

The Economist posted this claim on Facebook and Twitter, accompanied by a short video. In some cities, it's more dangerous to breathe than to smoke cigarettes. I can imagine it's more dangerous ...
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2 votes
1 answer
215 views

Are black cabs responsible for nearly a fifth of central London's road transport Nitrogen Oxide emissions?

Evening Standard reporter Ross Lydall penned this article on 4th April: Row erupts over black cab exemption to planned ultra low emission zone “Londoners will, however, be astounded that the Mayor ...
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8 votes
1 answer
443 views

To what extent do needle trees contribute to fine dust pollution?

Today I ran into an article concerning cars and their effect on the existence of particulate matter. Especially the last paragraph caught my attention where it is claimed that coniferous also ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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Does particulate pollution in outdoor air kill tens of thousands every year?

The effects of particulate pollution have recently been in the news. In the UK the Daily Mail reported: Toxins emitted by Britain’s booming number of diesel cars are fuelling a health crisis that ...
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6 votes
1 answer
514 views

Are Silvester (New Year's Eve) fireworks as pollutive as cars in one year?

In my local newspaper, the Salzburger Nachrichten, there was the following article to be found on 31st of December, 2016: Guten Rutsch - krach, bumm! Hell wird es wieder sein am Nachthimmel und schön ...
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7 votes
1 answer
1k views

Do Ultra-dense H11-grade HEPA filters remove up to 99% of PM0.3 particles?

The Xaiomi Air Purifier 2 website claims: HEPA (High-efficiency Particulate Arrestance) is frequently used in hospitals and labs to filter out micron-sized particles. Mi Air Purifier uses an ultra-...
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11 votes
1 answer
3k views

Can the oxygen levels in a polluted city be as low as 11%? [closed]

Normal levels of oxygen in atmosphere is around 21%. Recently in a discussion somebody commented that the polluted cities like Delhi has only 11% of oxygen in its atmosphere on some peak days of ...
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1 vote
1 answer
294 views

Is most of London's air pollution 'is caused by drivers from outside the capital'?

According to today's (29th Feb 2016) Evening Standard London's air pollution 'is caused by drivers from outside the capital' Implying that whatever London does about air pollution, there will ...
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43 votes
2 answers
5k views

Do 1.4 million Chinese people die each year because of air pollution?

This claim is made in an article published on december 18th on the online version of the French newspaper Le Monde. Des études scientifiques ont estimé que près de 1,4 million de Chinois meurent ...
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22 votes
1 answer
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Do trees soak up pollution?

You often hear a variation on the idea that plants "absorb" air pollution. For example, in a Yahoo News article on Beijing smog, the reporter writes: The China Daily said there are also not enough '...
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18 votes
1 answer
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Does breathing Beijing's air for one hour reduce life expectancy by 20 minutes?

I've just listened to this claim by a BBC journalist in Beijing: A recent study showed that even breathing this kind of air for an hour can reduce a person's life expectancy by 20 minutes. This ...
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36 votes
2 answers
10k views

Can tortoises become deformed by growing up inside rings of plastic?

I found these images on this image aggregator, which states that the photo credit is unknown for both images. The tortoises are implied to have become deformed from growing up inside the rings of ...
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5 votes
0 answers
589 views

Does an old car with engine turned off pollute more than a new car going 60 mph? [closed]

On the show Real Time with Bill Maher (Jan 9, 2015), Jay Leno (a guy that seems knowledgeable about cars) made this very interesting statement 37 minutes in: A 1977 Ford Galaxy, one of those big ...
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4 votes
2 answers
509 views

Is it almost impossible to find animals that are not contaminated by chemicals?

From Chapter 3 of Rachel Carson's seminal book, Silent Spring (1962): FOR THE FIRST TIME in the history of the world, every human being is now subjected to contact with dangerous chemicals, from ...
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20 votes
2 answers
6k views

Is standing near Lake Karachay for an hour fatal?

I read this 9gag post (Okay, 9gag isn't really reliable for facts), where it says : I then checked it at Wikipedia (Again, not the most reliable, really, but it does the job when necessary), and ...
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13 votes
1 answer
3k views

Do Jet Skis produce in an hour equivalent pollution to 100,000km of a new/small car?

I recall this claim being published in a newspaper a while back but time has buried it in the Interwebs, though it does come up from time to time as e.g. Driving a jet ski for one hour will produce ...
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11 votes
0 answers
477 views

Do cigarettes emit three times as much particulates as an idling diesel engine?

We can see that cities like Melbourne are pushing far the smoking bans Often smoking is compared to car pollution, and is said to be insignificant But, according to this experiment A turbo diesel ...
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16 votes
3 answers
1k views

Does lowering speed limits by 10 km/h have any impact on air pollution?

Europe has been under exceptional sunlight for the past ten days, cf. Eumetsat's picture. According to French media, this prevents smog from escaping major hubs. In an attempt to reduce this air ...
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