ETYM Latin pollutio: cf. French pollution.
The harmful effect on the environment of by-products of human activity, principally industrial and agricultural processes— for example, noise, smoke, automobile emissions, chemical and radioactive effluents in air, seas, and rivers, pesticides, radiation, sewage (see sewage disposal), and household waste. Pollution contributes to the greenhouse effect. See also air pollution.
Pollution control involves higher production costs for the industries concerned, but failure to implement adequate controls may result in irreversible environmental damage and an increase in the incidence of diseases such as cancer. Radioactive pollution results from inadequate nuclear safety.
Transboundary pollution is when the pollution generated in one country affects another, for example as occurs with acid rain. Natural disasters may also cause pollution; volcanic eruptions, for example, cause ash to be ejected into the atmosphere and deposited on land surfaces.
The state of being contaminated with harmful substances.