While every organism on Earth has some impact on its environment, few affect the planet as greatly as human beings. However, human beings have a tremendous negative impact on the planet, including that of pollution. Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into the environment, either chemicals, foreign substances, or even light and noise.
Environmental pollution degrades the habitat around us, for both humans and other animals and plants. It was the burning of massive quantities of coal that accompanied the Industrial Revolution that introduced the modern concept of pollution, as well as set in motion the chain of events that has produced climate change and global warming. Environmental pollution produces a number of negative effects, including ocean acidification, global warming, acid rain, and habitat loss for plant and animal species. Additionally, environmental pollution has a number of adverse health effects on human beings.
It has been estimated that about 400 million metric tons of pollution is produced annually, of which the United States alone produces 250 million metric tons. Motor vehicle emissions are one of the leading causes of environmental pollution in the atmosphere. There are, of course, other sources of carbon dioxide that constitute pollution to the environment. The United States, despite having less than five percent of the world's population, produces one-quarter of the world's carbon dioxide.