pollution

An octopus-shaped kite flies over visitors on a smoggy day during a kite festival in Chongqing.

China Daily/Reuters

An octopus-shaped kite flies through the smog during a kite festival in Chongqing, southwest China

the Eiffel tower in central Paris through a haze of pollution.

Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty Images

Eiffel Tower in central Paris through a haze of pollution. More than 30 departments in France have been hit by maximum level pollution alerts since Thursday, prompting the ecology minister to say air quality was “an emergency and a priority for the government”.

Girls wearing masks on haze-covered Tiananmen Square in Beijing.  China's National Meteorological Centre issued a "yellow" smog alert for much of the country's north, the fifth consecutive day of heavy pollution which has slashed visibility and seen pollution reach hazardous levels.

AFP

China’s National Meteorological Centre issued a “yellow” smog alert for much of the country’s north, the fifth consecutive day of heavy pollution that has cut visibility and seen pollution reach hazardous levels, affecting areas such as Tiananmen Square (above) in Beijing.

Residents cover their face from dust as they ride their bicycles along a street on a hazy day in Zhengzhou, Henan province. Commentaries by two of China's most influential news outlets suggesting that an ongoing air pollution crisis was not without a silver lining drew a withering reaction on Tuesday from internet users and other media. The Global Times said smog could be useful in military situations, as it could hinder the use of guided missiles, while CCTV listed five "unforeseen rewards" for smog, including helping Chinese people's sense of humour.

Reuters

Cyclists cover their faces on a hazy day in Zhengzhou, Henan province, China. Two of the country’s most influential news outlets were criticised after trying to put a positive spin on China’s air pollution problem. The Global Times newspaper said smog could be useful in military situations, as it could hinder the use of guided missiles, while state broadcaster CCTV listed five “unforeseen rewards” of smog, including helping Chinese people’s sense of humour.

Young environmentalists from international organizations protest in front of the Polish Ministry of Economy in Warsaw, where the Coal and Climate Summit is taking place. Poland's dependence on the cheap and plentiful coal means it ranks fifth for carbon dioxide (CO2) pollution in the European Union, behind Germany, Britain, Italy and France, whose economies are far larger.

Janek Skarzynski/AFP/Getty Images

Young environmentalists protest in front of the Polish economy ministry in Warsaw, where the coal and climate summit is taking place. The country’s dependence on fossil fuel means it ranks fifth for carbon-dioxide pollution in the EU, behind Germany, Britain, Italy and France.

Hazaribagh's Tanneries Contribute To Its Status As One Of World's Most Polluted Places...DHAKA, BANGLADESH - NOVEMBER 11: Men work with animal fat that will be turned into glue, November 11, 2013 in the Hazaribagh neighborhood of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Hazaribagh was just listed in a report by Green Cross Switzerland and Blacksmith Institute as the 5th most polluted place on earth. It houses 95% of Bangladesh's leather tanneries, and every day they dump 22,000 cubic liters of toxic waste, including the cancer-causing hexavalent chromium, into the capital city's main river and key water supply, the Burgiganga. Most of the laborers work with the hazardous chemicals without any safety precautions, and there have been reports of horrific workplace accidents in the factories. Residents of the neighborhood slums are exposed to the extreme air, water and soil pollution. The tanneries export millions of dollars of leather good around the world, including the US and Europe. (Photo by Getty Images)

Getty

Men carry animal fat that will be turned into glue, in the Hazaribagh neighbourhood of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Hazaribagh has been listed in a report by Green Cross Switzerland and Blacksmith Institute as the fifth most polluted place on earth. It houses 95 per cent of Bangladesh’s leather tanneries, which every day dump 22,000 cubic litres of toxic waste, including the cancer-causing hexavalent chromium, into the capital city’s main river and key water supply, the Buriganga. Read more

A traffic policeman signals to drivers during a smoggy day in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, October 21, 2013. The second day of heavy smog with a PM 2.5 index has forced the closure of schools and highways, exceeding 500 micrograms per cubic meter on Monday morning in downtown Harbin, according to Xinhua News Agency.

China Daily/Reuters

A traffic policeman signals to drivers during a smoggy day in Harbin, Heilongjiang Province. The second day of heavy smog forced the closure of schools and highways on Monday, according to Xinhua News Agency.

A protester from Ecuador holds up an oil covered hand as she demonstrates against Chevron's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations trial in New York...A protester from Ecuador holds up an oil covered hand as she demonstrates against Chevron's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) trial in New York, October 15, 2013. Chevron Corp will try to convince a U.S. judge this week that a group of Ecuadorean villagers and their U.S. lawyer used bribery to win an $18 billion judgment against Chevron from a court in Ecuador, in the latest chapter in a long-running fight over pollution in the Amazon jungle. In a trial starting Tuesday, the oil company is asking a federal court in New York to prevent the villagers and their Harvard-educated lawyer, Steven Donziger, from using U.S. courts to enforce the Ecuadorean judgment.  REUTERS/Carlo Allegri (UNITED STATES -

Carlo Allegri/Reuters

A protester from Ecuador holds up an oil-covered hand outside a court in New York ahead of Chevron Corp’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisations (RICO) trial on Tuesday. Chevron is attempting to convince a US judge that a group of Ecuadorean villagers and their US lawyer used bribery to win an $18bn judgment against Chevron from a court in Ecuador, in the latest chapter in a long-running fight over pollution in the Amazon jungle. The oil company is asking the federal court to prevent the villagers and their Harvard-educated lawyer, Steven Donziger, from using US courts to enforce the Ecuadorean judgment. Read more

Religious offerings from devotees and leftover wooden frames of Lord Ganesh idols pile up in the Yamuna river in New Delhi on September 20, 2013.  Considered one of the holiest rivers in India, the Yamuna River has been dying a slow death from pollution for decades despite the investment of millions of dollars to preserve its ecosystem. According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) which monitors the water quality of the Yamuna in Delhi, seventy percent of the pollution in the river is from untreated sewage while the remaining thirty percent is from industrial sources, agricultural run-off and domestic garbage.

Prakash Singh/AFP

Religious offerings from devotees and leftover wooden frames of Lord Ganesh idols pile up in the Yamuna river in New Delhi, India, on Friday. Considered one of the holiest rivers in India, the Yamuna River has been dying a slow death from pollution for decades despite the investment of millions of dollars to preserve its ecosystem

A resident clears dead fish from the Fuhe river in Wuhan, in central China's Hubei, after large quantities began to surface the day before, apparently killed by severely high levels of ammonia in the water.

AFP/Getty Images

A resident clears dead fish from the Fuhe river in Wuhan, Hubei, in central China, after large quantities began to surface the day before, apparently killed by severely high levels of ammonia in the water.