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air pollution

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The presence in the air of any air pollutant that reduces air quality enough to threaten the health and welfare or people, plants, and animals, to adversely affect materials and structures, and/or to interfere with the enjoyment of life and property. Although there are a number of important natural sources of air pollution (including forest fires and volcanic eruptions), the term is usually applied to substances released into the atmosphere as a result of human activities, which can be either deliberate (such as the continual release of gases from factory chimneys) or accidental (such as the release of material from the damaged Chernobyl nuclear power station, and the Bhopal explosion).

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