Air pollution occurs when harmful or excessive quantities of substances including gases, particulates, and biological molecules are introduced into Earth’s atmosphere. It may cause diseases, allergies and even death to humans; it may also cause harm to other living organisms such as animals and food crops and may damage the natural or built environment. Both human activity and natural processes can generate air pollution. Indoor air pollution and poor urban air quality are listed as two of the world’s worst toxic pollution problems in the 2008 Blacksmith Institute World’s Worst Polluted Places report. According to the 2014 World Health Organization report, air pollution in 2012 caused the deaths of around 7 million people worldwide, an estimate roughly echoed by one from the International Energy Agency. Pollutants are classified as primary or secondary. Primary pollutants are usually produced by processes such as ash from a volcanic eruption. Other examples include carbon monoxide gas from motor vehicle exhausts or sulphur dioxide released from the factories. Secondary pollutants are not emitted directly. Rather, they form in the air when primary pollutants react or interact. Ground level ozone is a prominent example of secondary pollutants. Some pollutants may be both primary and secondary: they are both emitted directly and formed from other primary pollutants.
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