Pollution is one of the top 3 problems facing cities and countries today. While the United States and China are the two major contributors to global carbon dioxide and greenhouse emissions, there are many more like India, Indonesia and Brazil who contribute significantly as well. It is an issue that needs to be addressed fast.
Pollution can be both indoor and outdoor, and has both natural and artificial causes. While some of them are beyond the control of humans, the majority of factors are within control. Additionally, there are what are called primary pollutants and secondary pollutants. Primary pollutants are direct contributors, whereas second pollutants combine with other elements to contribute indirectly to pollution.
By far the leading contributor to pollution, fossil fuels such as coal, hydrocarbons and petroleum release Sulphur Dioxide, which causes air pollution. Fossil fuels remain the primary source of energy for the vast majority of nations, and it will take some time before we reduce this dependence. On the positive side, fossil fuel reserves are limited and nations need to reduce their dependence on such reserves.
Mining is an activity that contributes directly to air pollution. When you mine areas, the process releases dust and other contaminants to the atmosphere. There are countries whose economies depend on mining revenues, such as Australia, who have to make sure that there are safety precautions in place when such activities are carried out.
Household activities such as washing floors and cleaning utensils utilize toxic chemicals that release air-borne pollutants. Chemicals used in painting are especially dangerous if not properly controlled. The fumes from painting your house is said to be unsafe for the respiratory system. Such fumes can cause headaches, nausea and lung allergies.
There are many more sources, but we have focused on three of the major ones here. Each individual can contribute to reduce pollution, starting with safe household practices that reduce dependence on household chemicals.