pollution pol·lu·tion (pə-lōō'shən)
The act or process of polluting or the state of being polluted, especially the contamination of soil, water, or the atmosphere by the discharge of harmful substances.
A pollutant or a group of pollutants.
|pollution (pə-l'shən) Pronunciation Key
The contamination of air, water, or soil by substances that are harmful to living organisms. Pollution can occur naturally, for example through volcanic eruptions, or as the result of human activities, such as the spilling of oil or disposal of industrial waste. ◇ Light from cities and towns at night that interferes with astronomical observations is known as light pollution. It can also disturb natural rhythms of growth in plants and other organisms. ◇ Continuous noise that is loud enough to be annoying or physically harmful is known as noise pollution. ◇ Heat from hot water that is discharged from a factory into a river or lake, where it can kill or endanger aquatic life, is known as thermal pollution.