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How do automobiles contribute to pollution?

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Quick Answer

Automobiles contribute to pollution during operation as a result of greenhouse gas emissions. Cars emit carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, ozone and other particulate matter that has an effect on the environment and air quality. Automobiles also contribute to pollution during the refueling process, during manufacturing and disposal.

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Full Answer

Emissions from automobiles cause the levels of different greenhouse gases and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to increase. Carbon monoxide is produced when the carbon in the automobile's fuel does not burn entirely. The automobile's exhaust also generates hydrocarbons, which are toxic compounds formed from hydrogen and carbon.

In some instances, particulate matter or air pollutants are deposited over the surface of water or over the soil. This can cause the pollutants to contaminate nearby animal or marine life. The contamination has adverse effects on the immune systems, reproductive systems and respiratory systems of these organisms.

Nitrogen oxides are produced by automobiles and can lead to acid rain. Acid rain alters the pH of soil and waterways, which can harm the organisms that need these resources for survival.

Automobiles contain different fluids, including wiper fluids, motor oil, refrigerants and gasoline. These fluids are toxic and can pollute waterways or soil when a leak occurs or the fluids are not disposed of properly.

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