The gift of Zeus to Pandora, a box containing all the evils of the world,
to redress against the benefit of fire is analogous to the polluting results
of some of Man's applications of fire. The principle source of air pollution
is the combustion of fossil fuels. This process delivers five major classes
of pollutant to the air: carbon monoxide, sulphur oxides, hydrocarbons,
nitrogen oxides and particulates. Coal and oil both contain sulphur impurities
and it is their combustion that produces the sulphur oxides. The combination
of sulphur oxides and nitrogen oxides with atmospheric water results in
acid rain, which damages water, forests and soil, and has impact on the
organisms that live in those environments.
The steady increase in global atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration since the industrial revolution is a direct result of the increased consumption of fossil fuels, with the consequence of an increased greenhouse effect.
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