June 4 – Clear As Mud

Today’s Factismal: Humans put out 135 times the amount of CO2 of all the volcanoes on Earth combined.

Today is Clean Air Day, so here are five fast facts about air pollution:

1 The ozone layer has begun to recover, thanks to the ban on CFCs enacted in 1996. But it will take another four decades to complete heal.
2 Though ozone in the stratosphere is essential for screening out UV rays, ozone at the surface is a pollutant that can cause emphysema, asthma, and other breathing problems. So pity the folks of Los Angeles, which has the highest ozone count in the USA!
3 Smog created by burning old palm trees and forests to clear land for palm oil plantations can reach all the way from Indonesia to Oregon!

Smoke from Siberia reaches the USA (Image courtesy NASA)

Smoke from Siberia reaches the USA
(Image courtesy NASA)

4 Two-thirds of the people killed by air pollution live in Asia, thanks to their lax standards.
5 The world’s worst air pollution is over the Iranian city of Ahwaz, which is three times more polluted than Beijing!
Air pollution in Beijing isn't the world's worst (Image courtesy Discovery News)

Air pollution in Beijing isn’t the world’s worst
(Image courtesy Discovery News)

If you’d like to learn more about air pollution, including how you can measure it at home and what you can do to help reduce it, then head on over to the EPA’s EnviroAtlas:
http://enviroatlas.epa.gov/enviroatlas/atlas.html

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