Humans and their environment
The most common source of air pollution is the combustion of fossil fuelsfossil fuels: Fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas, made from the remains of ancient plants and animals.. This usually happens in vehicle engines and power stations.
|smoke||Deposits soot on buildings and trees, causing them damage. Permeates the air, making it difficult for living creatures to breathe.|
|carbon monoxide||poisonous gas|
|carbon dioxide||greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming|
|sulfur dioxide||contributes to acid rain|
Lichens are plants that grow in exposed places such as rocks or tree bark. They need to be very good at absorbing water and nutrients to grow there, and rainwater contains just enough nutrients to keep them alive. Air pollutants dissolved in rainwater, especially sulfur dioxide, can damage lichens, and prevent them from growing. This makes lichens natural indicators of air pollution. For example:
In places where no lichens are growing, it's often a sign that the air is heavily polluted with sulfur dioxide.
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