IATE Term of the Week: Air Pollution


This week, the  UN Climate Change Conference is taking place in Bonn from the 6th to the 17th of November 2017. The event has also been designated as “conference of the parties”, or COP, as the focus is on the actions that  stakeholders, enterprises, cities, and regions can undertake to react to climate change.

Despite some opposition, the scientific community agrees that climate change is real, currently happening, and that it is influenced by all human activities on the planet, one of which is air pollution.
Furthermore, pollution of the atmosphere is an underestimated danger: many people in the world are unaware of the consequences that it can lead to, and of the damage it causes to both human health and the wellbeing of the planet.

These are the reasons why we have chosen  air pollution as the latest IATE Term of the Week.




Our public database IATE defines the term as “contamination of the indoor or outdoor environment by any chemical, physical or biological agent that modifies the natural characteristics of the atmosphere“.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) website lists household combustion devices, motor vehicles, industrial facilities and forest fires among the common sources of air pollution. All these factors are involved in outdoor air pollution, but there is a whole world of indoor air pollution which is largely still unknown. The WHO refers to this as ‘the forgotten 3 billion’: it means that in the world around 3 billion people still cook and heat their homes using solid fuels like wood, crop wastes, charcoal, or coal. All these resources are inefficient cooking fuels, and  produce high levels of household air pollution: illnesses and diseases are a direct consequence.

The effects of outdoor air pollution are much more widely known; extreme global warming is one of these. It leads to increased temperatures, a rise in sea levels, the melting of ice and icebergs, changes in wildlife and the natural habitats of animals, as well as acid rain.

Here you will find the IATE entry for this term. On IATE you can see the translations in 24 EU languages, plus 2 extra-EU languages.


You might also be interested in these related articles and Terms of the Week:


Enjoy terminology learning and have a nice weekend!



  • European Environment Agency, official website, available here (accessed on October 8,2017)
  • World Health Organization, official website, available here (accessed on October 8,2017)
  • United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, official website, available here (accessed on October 9,2017)
  • The Guardian, The COP23 climate change summit in Bonn and why it matters, by Damian Carrington, 05/11/2017, available here (accessed on October 9, 2017)
  • UN Climate Change Conference, press release, available here (accessed on October 9,2017)


Written by Carolina Quaranta – Schuman Trainee at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament. Student of Master in Public and Political Communication in the University of Torino, Italy; communication journalist.