40 Interesting Facts about Pollution

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26Large container ship

Large container ship

A single large container ship emits as much pollution as 50 million automobiles.

27. The Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, New York City is so polluted that unidentifiable new forms of microbiological life have arisen in its sludge.

28. The most polluted city in the world, Zabol in Iran, gets its bad air quality mostly because of natural reasons. There is a constant flow of wind blowing in from the desert for four months of the year, which brings in harmful sand particles.

29. There are more than 500,000 pieces of debris floating or orbiting around Earth now. Most of them originated as parts of satellites and rockets.

30. Our oceans are being polluted with over 2.3 billion pieces of plastic. Pushed by winds, tides, and currents, plastic particles form with other debris into large swirling glutinous accumulation zones. There are a least 5 garbage patches drifting in the oceans north and south of the Equator.

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31Contaminated water

Contaminated water

In China, 300 million people suffer from bacterial diarrhea every year from drinking contaminated water. 40% of the rivers in China do not meet safety standards and 20% of them are so polluted that they aren’t even safe to touch.

32. The Cuyahoga River in Ohio was once so polluted that it caught fire 13 times between 1868 and 1969.

33. 6,000 years ago, extensive copper mining operations in North America polluted the Great Lakes region. Isle Royale National Park in the State of Michigan, features high levels of copper, lead, and potassium in the ancient sediments.

34. One-third of humanity (including 60% of Europeans and 80% of North Americans) live in such light-polluted areas that the Milky Way is not visible at night.

35. Ships that were constructed before 1945 are the primary source of steel which are not contaminated with radioactive nuclides. The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki along with nuclear tests and disasters have polluted the earth’s atmosphere with nuclear particles.

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36Acid Rain

Acid Rain

In the 1970s, the pH of rain samples from parts of New York was at 3.3 due to pollution from the rust belt, the same acidity as grapefruit juice. The default pH of rain is 5.1. This prompted the creation of the term “Acid Rain.”

37. Companies are known to strategically place facilities where the wind will carry pollution across the state line or sometimes even country lines.

38. Violent crime in the US and Europe was at its highest in areas with the most lead pollution. Violent crime peaked 20 years after lead additives in petrol and paint were banned, before declining thereafter.

39. In 2010 alone, a peer-reviewed study found that reductions in fine particle pollution and ozone pollution achieved by the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 avoided more than 160,000 deaths and prevented 13 million lost workdays.

40. The black bricks of the UK Prime Minister's residence, 10 Downing Street, were originally yellow, only darkening due to centuries of pollution. When renovations were made in 1958 it was decided to paint the brick black, as the color had become associated with the building in the public's minds.

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  1. 21 – Cubatão WAS nicknamed Valley of death, but due to a huge effort of authorities, and more than 1.5 bilion US$ the pollution is under control since late 90’s. In 2010 there was a reallocation of about 1500 families in the neighborhoods known as Cotas, on the Serra do mar, and nowadays the forest has claimed back its space. These days we refer to Cubatão as ”City simbol of environmental control”.



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