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Environment-all the external factors influencing the life and activities of people, plants, and animals.

Smoke Billowing from Industrial Smokestacks Carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide, and other types of contaminants pouring from industrial smokestacks contribute to worldwide atmospheric pollution. Carbon dioxide contributes significantly to global warming, while sulphur dioxide is the principal cause of acid rain in eastern and northern Europe and north-eastern North America. Other environmental problems stemming from smokestack emissions include respiratory diseases, poisoned lakes and streams, and damaged forests and crops.

Marshy Spruce Forest Damaged by Acid Rain Forests, lakes, ponds, and other terrestrial and aquatic environments throughout the world are being severely damaged by the effects of acid rain. Acid rain is caused by the combination of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen compounds with water in the atmosphere to produce rain with a very low pH. Normally, rainwater has a pH of 6.5, making it very slightly acidic. However, with the addition of sulphur and nitrogen compounds, the pH of rainwater may drop to as low as 2.0 or 3.0, similar to the acidity of vinegar. In addition to chemically burning the leaves of plants, acid rain poisons lakewater, which kills most if not all of the aquatic inhabitants.

Slash and Burn Deforestation The deforestation technique of slash and burn, utilized extensively to clear large areas of forest for agricultural and other purposes, causes an enormous amount of environmental damage. The large amounts of carbon dioxide given off into the atmosphere during burning adds to the greenhouse effect. The removal of all trees and ground cover destroys animal habitats and greatly accelerates erosion, adding to the sediment loads of rivers and making seasonal flooding much more severe.

Gully Formation Due to Soil Erosion Gully formation, a severe form of soil erosion, is a natural geological process that can be greatly accelerated by human activities such as deforestation, overgrazing of cattle, and poor agricultural practices. Erosion attacks the moisture-bearing ability of soils and adds deposits to waterways. These destructive processes continue at an increased rate on every continent, as overpopulation and industrialization tax the remaining soil.

Brown Smog Over Phoenix, Arizona Smog is caused by industrial and vehicle pollution. It is compounded by temperature inversions, which cause the air pollution to be kept in a particular area for extended periods. Continued exposure to smog can result in respiratory problems, eye irritation, and even death.