Pollution is unwanted, harmful stuff contaminating an environment. The race to develop clean energy is motivated by high levels of pollution that people fear are permanently damaging the earth's environment.

When you hear about pollution, you’re most likely hearing about chemical emissions into air or water that come from industrial processing. But pollution isn’t just environmental. Anything we think of as pure can be contaminated by pollution polluted, whether that's a lake or an idea. If your mother finds you reading trashy magazines instead of doing your homework, she might worry about the pollution of your mind.

Definitions of pollution

n undesirable state of the natural environment being contaminated with harmful substances as a consequence of human activities

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biodegradable pollution
pollution that is rendered harmless by natural processes and so causes no permanent harm
nonbiodegradable pollution
pollution that accumulates in the environment and may appear in the food chain
air pollution
pollution of the atmosphere
noise pollution, sound pollution
annoying and potentially harmful environmental noise
thermal pollution
harm to lakes and rivers resulting from the release of excessive waste heat into them
water pollution
pollution of the water in rivers and lakes
acid precipitation, acid rain
rain containing acids that form in the atmosphere when industrial gas emissions (especially sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides) combine with water
industrial air pollution
pollution resulting from an industrial plant discharging pollutants into the atmosphere
miasm, miasma
unhealthy vapors rising from the ground or other sources
small-particle pollution
air pollution caused by fine particles of soot (as from power plants or diesel engines)
smog, smogginess
air pollution by a mixture of smoke and fog
Type of:
impureness, impurity
the condition of being impure
environmental condition
the state of the environment

n the state of being polluted

befoulment, defilement
Type of:
dirtiness, uncleanness
the state of being unsanitary

n the act of contaminating or polluting; including (either intentionally or accidentally) unwanted substances or factors

the removal of contaminants
dust contamination
the act of contaminating with dust particles
Type of:
dirtying, soiling, soilure
the act of soiling something

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