N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources
 Welcome to the North Carolina Division of Air Quality
N.C. Air Awareness Program >> What's the Problem?

What's the problem?
Air pollution can harm people's health and damage the environment. Air pollution can lead to breathing problems such as asthma and emphysema. Too much exposure to pollution during childhood can permanently reduce lung function. Some types of air pollution also can cause heart problems. Air pollution can harm you even if you can't see it or smell it. It also can hurt trees and wildlife, cause haze that blocks scenic views, and contribute to water pollution and climate change.

The two biggest air quality problems in North Carolina are ground-level ozone (the main ingredient in "smog") and particle pollution. Both pollutants are caused mainly by emissions from cars and trucks, and from the coal-burning power plants that supply most of our electricity. On many days in 2008 in our urban areas, the air was "unhealthy" to breathe for some or all people because of these pollutants. Smoke from outdoor burning and wildfires also contributes significantly to ozone and particle pollution.

Even with cleaner cars and other new technology, our air could get worse as our population grows, endangering our health and reducing our quality of life. The good news is that by being mindful of our daily activities, we can make a few simple changes to help us all breathe easier.

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Last Modified: Wed August 26 11:58:19 2009
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