Reference Center

Air and Water Pollution Information Center

Air and water pollution are among the biggest threats to human health, access to natural resources, and the survival of diverse wildlife. Additionally, poor air and water quality perpetuate the cycle of poverty and economic inequity, since underserved neighborhoods are the most likely to experience high levels of pollution.

Forest Founders has made it a mission to empower communities with the information they need to effectively advocate for their air and water quality. Planting trees throughout neighborhoods that are affected by major polluters is proven to significantly improve air quality and even the health of the local population. Moreover, forest cover acts as a natural water purifier and guard against soil erosion, keeping water quality high.

The following informational resources can help you better understand how air and water pollution occurs, and how you can help preserve the quality of these two essential resources.

  • Implementing environmentally friendly policies and procedures is not only socially responsible, but also profitable! Both state and federal governments offer incentives, including tax credits and other benefits, for lowering energy and resource consumption. The Environmental Protection Agency offers an exhaustive list of different programs that reward environmentally responsible practices and behaviors.
  • Environmental regulations aren’t new — since the first Earth Day, the federal government has endeavored to keep the air and water pure by enacting public policies. If you’re interested in historic environmental policy, this Environmental Protection Agency report from 1981 offers an interesting view of past regulatory approaches for managing air and water quality.
  • Economic incentives are among the best strategies for encouraging businesses to implement and maintain environmentally responsible operating practices. Individual states are beginning to offer economic incentives for adhering to cleaner and more efficient procedures. California has some of the most progressive environmental legislation in the country, and offers a wide scope of incentive programs, including support for transitioning to lower emission transportation.
  • Poor air and water quality are both major factors in keeping underserved communities throughout the world in poverty. Improving air and water means reducing emissions from transportation, industrial production, and agricultural practices worldwide. The United Nations offers strategies to improve climate change incentives so that air quality is not compromised.
  • Improved environmental practices must have the necessary economic support to be effective, and state governments and local businesses must work in cooperation so that the cost of upgrading necessary equipment doesn’t hurt businesses’ ability to operate profitably. Connecticut offers a series of tax credits and exemptions for adopting certain different types of low emissions equipment — here’s the policy:
  • The World Air Quality Index Project is a resource funded by the Environmental Protection Agency to help raise awareness of the importance of air quality. This website offers real-time evaluations of the air quality in nearly every inhabited region throughout the world. Learn more about how clean the air is in your city, state, and country using this easy-to-navigate platform.
  • Worldwide policy changes and strategic innovation are essential to developing workable and sustainable climate solutions. The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is a nonprofit organization founded to fight against the devastating environmental, economic, and social repercussions of climate change and air and water pollution. Learn more about how you can help their mission here:
  • The effects of air pollution kill approximately seven million people throughout the year worldwide. According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), 90 percent of all people are breathing air that does not meet WHO purity standards. Learn more about how the WHO is working towards improving global air quality here:
  • Although significant advancements have been made regarding air pollution in the U.S. since the inception of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), pollution is still an urgent issue that affects human health and quality of life, particularly in lower-income regions. Here’s how the EPA works to improve air conditions in regions throughout the U.S.
  • The effects of ground-level ozone (a major component of smog) contribute to numerous health issues, including reduced lung capacity and function, increased severe asthma attacks, and a greater likelihood of premature death in regions where smog is in greater concentrations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers a breakdown of the dangers of poor air quality, and the measures communities can take to safeguard their health.
  • Air pollution can significantly degrade lung function, making people exposed to it susceptible to numerous health challenges. The American Lung Association offers tips and resources for managing potential risk factors and reduce your vulnerability to harmful air pollutants. Here’s what you need to know about keeping your lungs as healthy and protected from toxic air particulates as possible.
  • The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States is one of the most respected and cited scientific journals in the world. This more-than-century-old publication offers thousands of highly authoritative research that addresses a wide scope of scientific inquiry from all of the scientific disciplines.
  • Water pollution is among the biggest threats to human health and social stability. Lack of potable water can trigger social upheavals that lead to significant political and social unrest, as well as pose devastating health challenges to local populations. is among the most comprehensive online information databases dedicated to the causes, effects, and sources of water pollution, as well as strategies for preventing and mitigating it.
  • Many of us take access to safe drinking water for granted, but there are countless regions, both in the United States and abroad, where clean, safe drinking water isn’t easily available. The Safe Drinking Water Foundation works to raise awareness about the consequences of poor quality water in Canada, and educate students about how they can be better advocates for clean water.
  • Our oceans are critically important resources that give us a food supply, regulates our climate, and even provides more than half of the world’s oxygen! Safeguarding our oceans — ensuring they remain clean and habitable to diverse marine life — is essential for preserving and improving the health of the planet. Thank You Ocean is a nonprofit dedicated to keeping oceans clean and healthy. Learn more about how you can help protect our oceans.
  • Pollution of our air and water threatens the survival of all life. From poisoning the air we breathe and the water we drink, to fomenting social upheaval as water resources become scarce, to contributing to climate change, pollution is an urgent issue. The World Wildlife Foundation offers an informational resource designed to help people better understand the environmental, health, and social challenges caused by pollution.