Environmental pollution - Statistics & Facts

The prevalence of widespread environmental pollution—the introduction of contaminants into the natural environment causing an adverse change—in mostly urban places culminated with the birth of the industrial revolution in the early 1900s. The emergence of large factories gave rise to unprecedented amount of air and water pollution from coal burning and immense industrial chemical discharges.

Some of the major forms of pollution apart from air and water pollution include, light pollution from over-illumination, littering, noise pollution, radioactive contaminants from nuclear power generation, as well as plastic waste accumulation that adversely affect wildlife and human habitation. Some of the worst damage from particulate emissions as a percentage of GNI occurred in Nigeria, India, Indonesia, South Africa, and China. The high income Eastern Mediterranean region generated the largest recorded urban ambient air pollution worldwide recording an average PM10 level of 123 micrograms per cubic meter, the highest

Some of the gaseous pollutants common to air pollution include carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons, and nitrogen oxides produced by industry and motor vehicles. In 2018, the emission of carbon dioxide from energy consumption in the United States amounted to approximately 5.27 billion metric tons with estimated C02 emissions of around 15.8 metric ton per person. Water or soil contamination may occur due to chemical underground leakages or spills. The average annual number of oil spills that were greater than 700 tons of oil worldwide fell from 24.5 in the 1970s to 1.9 from between 2010 and 2017. Apart from industrial spills, food waste accounted for the largest amount of industrial sector water releases in the United States.

According to surveys from over the past decade, there continues to be major public concerns over the adverse effects of pollution on human health and the environment. More than half of respondents expressed a “great deal” of concern over the pollution of rivers, lakes and reservoirs in the U.S. Some of the more popular actions undertaken by Americans to reduce carbon pollution include: the purchase of higher efficiency appliances, planting trees, buying smaller or more fuel efficient cars, or adding insulation to a home.

Interesting statistics

In the following 4 chapters, you will quickly find the 20 most important statistics relating to "Environmental pollution".


Dossier on the topic

All important statistics are prepared by our experts – available for direct download as PPT & PDF!

Important key figures

The most important key figures provide you with a compact summary of the topic of "Environmental pollution" and take you straight to the corresponding statistics.

Water pollution

Greenhouse gas emissions


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