How Does Pollution affect the Earth?

In this blog post, we will discuss “How does air pollution affect the Earth?” Firstly, we will discuss the basic information about air pollution. Then, it will give a brief description of the effects of environmental pollution on nature. In addition, the article will throw light on the impact of air pollution on the Earth in depth. In the end, we will provide a detailed solution to minimize air pollution.

How does pollution affect the Earth?

Air pollution harms the Earth severely. Air pollution can be so disastrous that its effect can raise a question on the world’s existence. Air pollution can lead to the birth of many other pollutions in nature, such as:

  • Water Pollution
  • Soil Pollution
  • Plastic Pollution
  • Light Pollution
  • Noise Pollution

Air pollution, along with these above-mentioned pollutions, can cause detrimental effects on the Earth.

But first, let’s see what air pollution is all about.

What is air pollution?

The introduction of harmful agents into the atmosphere is known as air pollution. The toxic agents are known as pollutants. These pollutants are derived from natural and human activities, and they can be chemical or biological.

Major pollutants present in the air are particulate matter (PM), ground-level ozone (O3), NO2, SO2, and CO. Air also has lead, allergens, bacteria, viruses and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Besides climate change, air pollution has become a significant environmental risk to human health. 

What is Outdoor and Indoor pollution?

Air pollution in the outside environment is called outdoor pollution. The examples of outdoor pollution are as follows:

  • Transportation
  • Combustion of fossil fuel
  •  Cooking activities
  • Energy generation and consumption
  • Agriculture
  •  Improper Solid Waste Management
  • Industries and factories
  • Household pollution
  • Celebrations
  • Construction and demolition

Air pollution created inside any closed structure is called indoor pollution. The examples of indoor pollution are as follows:

  • Household activities 
  • Perfumes and fresheners 
  • Cooking fuel/activities
  • Cigarette 
  • Radon 
  • Poor ventilation 
  • Uncleaned furniture 
  • Pets 
  • Asbestos

 There are two leading causes of air pollution- natural pollution (happened due to natural events like dust storms) and anthropogenic pollution (happened due to human activities like combustion of fossil fuels).

Can environmental pollution affect the Earth?

Yes, pollution can affect nature. In particular, air pollution has shaken the balance of our ecosystem. Since the stone age, humankind has always strived hard to achieve stability and comfort in their life. Finally, we succeeded, which led to the industrial revolution, followed by urbanization and much-needed changes in the lifestyle.

However, in the process of progression, somewhere we left behind the great values of nature, we forgot the support and symbiotic existence of the environment. While human inventions, no doubt, have always helped us to save our lives, it has also given birth to much inevitable stuff. One such thing is air pollution.

Humans have tremendously exploited natural resources such as fossil fuels in the constant chase of becoming the best in every term and during the development of energy and manufacturing sectors. But, unfortunately, such combustion of fossil fuels for various purposes such as transport and energy releases lots of toxic gaseous and solid contaminants such as carbon monoxide, noxious gases and particulate matter. 

The ever-growing menace of air pollution has also created other challenges such as global warming, greenhouse effect and climate change. These challenges have affected the whole world extensively in the wrong way. In addition, it also gave rise to other pollutions such as water, soil and plastic pollution, noise and light pollution.

Let’s see briefly what all this pollution mean.

Water pollution

Releasing harmful pollutants such as toxic chemical effluents from the industries into the water bodies is water pollution. E.g., Oil spillage in the sea or ocean, discharge of sewage waste in rivers or streams, etc.

Soil pollution or Land pollution

Soil contamination occurs due to the use of harmful pesticides and chemical fertilizers, and acid rains. Sometimes, chemical fertilizers are used by farmers to increase crop productivity. E.g., Usage of DDT, over usage of NPK fertilizers, etc.

Plastic Pollution

This is one of the most severe issues that the Earth is facing currently. Plastic is used in daily as well as commercial works. Over-consumption of plastic products has ultimately led to plastic pollution. This mainly happens because plastic is non-degradable. E.g., Drinking bottles, packaging plastic, etc.

Noise Pollution

Noise pollution is one of the underestimated pollutions amongst humans. The presence of unwanted sounds in the environment is known as noise pollution. E.g., the sound of fireworks, a commotion at the airport, etc.

Light Pollution

Usage of excessive outdoor artificial light for human activities is called light pollution. Light pollution can be considered a global issue too. This is because too many glowing artificial lights can disturb mammals, birds and plants body patterns. Light pollution is caused mainly due to anthropogenic activities. E.g., Neon signs, excessive public lighting, advertising panels, etc.

The types, as mentioned earlier, of pollution are intricately intertwined with others. Anthropogenic activities and natural phenomena release at least two kinds of pollution simultaneously. Recent analyses about pollution have also inferred that all these activities cause cross-media pollution. Cross-media pollution is nothing but a movement of pollution from one state of an environmental medium into another. Let’s take the most straightforward instance to explain this statement. Sweeping of roads clean road and decreases land pollution. However, the sweeping process also disperses dust into the atmosphere, which contributes to air pollution.

In this blog, let’s see in-depth how air pollution damages explicitly nature.

Depletion of Water Bodies and Land Surface 

Air pollution causes harm to the water cycle. As a result, this results in the depletion of various natural resources. The two primary resources which get deteriorate are water bodies and land surfaces. Let’s know more about it below.

Acid precipitation

Air pollution can considerably affect the soil and water health of the Earth when the toxic pollutants develop into clouds and condense to form acid rain. Acid rains are also called acid precipitations. Acid precipitation is completely acidic. Acidic precipitation changes the soil’s pH level when it comes in contact with land surfaces and water bodies.

Even the warmer air alters the temperature of the soil, which changes the composition of the bacteria. The acidic deposition is of two types, namely, wet and dry. Acid rain is a wet type of acidic deposition that causes soil erosion and affects the ecosystem. In contrast, dry deposition occurs when small acid particles and gases such as sulphur dioxides and nitrogen dioxides fall on the Earth’s surface.

Soil degradation

 Now, acidic precipitation results in soil degradation. The soil acidic in nature decreases the ability to retain many nutrients such as calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), and potassium (K). The agricultural run-off or water on the soil gets absorbed and seeps through the soil. As a result, the aquifers or groundwaters are also gets affected.


On the other hand, the acidic rain falling on the water bodies pose a significant threat to aquatic life. The constant fluctuations of water temperatures and the nutrient composition imbalances fish population and other wildlife depending on it.

The aquatic life in the oceans has been at significant risk due to air pollution. Corals, mangroves and seaweeds are degrading due to air pollution. In addition, fishes are dependent on these habitats for survival, posing a threat to their population.

Additionally, fishes are finding it difficult to breathe because of depleting oxygen supplies. World Meteorological Organisation says that around 90% of the greenhouse gases get trapped in the oceans.

Loss of biodiversity and Food Insecurity

If air pollution is not taken seriously by you and your friends or your elected political leader, it will cost you scenic beauties, biodiversity and natural resources. Your vast lush green natural grasslands or green rich forests might be replaced arid and barren lands. Unfortunately, it sounds depressing. But, here’s why I am telling you.

Flora and fauna are all dependent on natural resources such as water and soil to thrive on the Earth. However, as explained earlier, the unnecessary involvement of airborne pollutants in the water cycle and their accumulation in the ground and other natural resources leads to the depletion of their nutrients.

The animals and plants relying on these resources then come under a significant threat. The indirect and direct impact of air pollution affects plant growth and reduces the production of fruits and flowers. Herbivorous animals relying on the plants will not get a sufficient amount of greens to fulfil their stomach, which will lead to a decline in their population. Their declining rate will affect the primary, secondary and tertiary predators and the apex predators. As a result, air pollution affects the food web of an ecosystem. Besides, the lowering rate of insects is alarming as the insect-plant relationship is the backbone of nature.

 Insects are responsible for the creation of the biological foundation for all the terrestrial ecosystems. Insects balance the nutrient cycle of the environment. Some insects like earthworms and dung beetles aid to maintain soil structure and enhancing soil nourishment. Insects like honeybees also significantly play a role in increasing fruit and flower plants. Again, this is because of the pollination process. Thus, this helps in balancing the food chain.

On the other hand, some insects like ants help to keep your surroundings clean and odourless. In addition, these insects help in the decomposition process of plants and animals. Some insects are badass because they help keep control of the pests or nasty bugs that harm our environment. However, particulate matter (PM2.5) affects the antennae, wings and hind legs of pollinating insects like honeybees. Its inhalation also messes up with their brains which makes them confused and delays the pollination process. Such issues will burden the food security of the world.

As we are also a vital part of the ecosystem, these pollutants also cause harm to our health and well-being. Much scientific evidence has proved that exposure to elevated pollutant concentrations causes respiratory and heart diseases such as lung cancer, heart attack and stroke. It also damages our nervous system and develops mental disorders such as dementia, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and schizophrenia. Besides, it also causes issues in reproduction and defects in birth.

More than humans, birds are most exposed to these toxic contaminants. Such exposure impacts their respiratory functions. Pollutants such as black carbon and soot can transform a beautiful bird into an ugly stained one. Also, amphibians such as frogs are vulnerable to herbicides and insecticides because of their skin permeability. Their skin absorbs such poison, and it transfers their vital organs such as the heart, lungs, gills and brain. Moreover, indoor air pollution causes danger to furry pets; they can get respiratory ailments and tumours.

Depletion of the Ozone layer

The ozone layer is exceptionally beneficial for the proper functioning of the Earth. The main job of the ozone is to protect the Earth from harmful ultraviolet (UVB rays) from the Sun. Without the ozone layer, humans will acquire many dangerous skin diseases such as skin cancer, cataracts and compromised immune systems. Unfortunately, this ozone layer is vulnerable to hazardous air pollutants such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). This chemical may be present you very nearby you, wonder how? This chemical is used as the refrigerant in your refrigerators, and it is made up of chlorine atoms. When the chlorine atoms are released into the atmosphere, they can destroy ozone. A single chlorine atom has the power to kill thousands of ozone molecules.  

Meteorological Changes, Global warming and Climate change

The high levels of particulate matter and ozone can cause the sky to be hazy and smoggy, creating less visibility. Sometimes, the high concentration of particulates can cause darkness and reduce the expected amount of sunlight to the Earth. Such less sunlight can affect the photosynthesis processes in the plants, leading to fewer crops productivity. Besides, hazy skies are also responsible for the alterations in the weather and climate.

The greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, water vapour and fluorinated gases are mainly produced from various human activities such as the combustion of fossil fuels, industries, and the agricultural sector. These gases get trapped inside the Earth’s atmosphere and cause warm temperatures. In addition, these gases also fluctuate with the seasons and weather. Finally, global warming is boosted by the tremendous presence of gases.

Global warming and the greenhouse effect has led to another huge challenge known as Climate Change. Climate change is a worldwide challenge to the Earth’s climate because of the natural causes and human activity. Climate change has globally negatively impacted the climatic patterns. It also causes the north and south poles to melt rapidly, which increases the sea level. Such a rise in the sea level can pose a threat to coasts and island nations. Besides, climate change has caused more extreme meteorological changes such as intense heat waves, prolonged droughts, flash floods, wildfires and harsh winters.

Intense fluctuations in the weather and climate give rise to multiple diseases such as cholera, typhoid, etc.

Thus, our responsibility is to create awareness about air pollution and its effects amongst your friends and loved ones. After all, nobody wants to experience like those scientific fiction movies showing apocalypse. 

The effects, as mentioned above, may sound way too severe, but don’t get panic. We still have time to save our world. Even little effort can significantly contribute to the betterment of the environment. In the next section, I will provide you with detailed solutions to mitigate air pollution.

What can I do to protect myself from air pollution?

I will elaborate on some of the measures to protect yourself from air pollution.

Personal Hygiene

You can also fight the effects of air pollution by maintaining personal hygiene:

  • You can cut your nails short to avoid the accumulation of dirt. 
  • You can also practice mouth gargling after coming home to free your mouth from unwanted guests.
  • You can also brush twice a day to keep airborne infections at bay.
  • You can also take steam therapy at home to cleanse your lungs.

Quit Smoking

Smoking cigarettes, hookahs (shisha), electric vape or any other types of cigars are not at all suitable for your health. It’s best to stop smoking. Active and passive smoking provides the direct entry of harmful pollutants into your body. This causes the risk to your respiration and other organs dependent on it. 

Physical Exercise 

Physical activities have many benefits to your body. It not only improves your stamina and immunity levels but also helps to increase your lung capacity. Yoga, sanas, swimming, running, cycling, brisk walking and dancing are some of the best forms of exercise to improve your health.

Breathing Exercise 

The majority of people in the world don’t breathe properly. However, correct breathing techniques can keep illnesses due to air pollution at bay. A pranayama is a form of yoga asana which helps to improve breathing methods and lung functionality.

Some of the pranayama types that help you fight air pollution are Kapalbhati, Anulom Vilom, Chandra Nadi, Surya Nadi and Bhastrika. It is strongly recommended to learn this art of breath from a well-certified yoga trainer. 

You can also increase your lung muscles by simply taking a deep breath and holding it for a count of 10. Then, slowly breathe out the air. If you can keep your breath for a longer time, then you have good lungs health.

Good diet 

Always go for a well-balanced diet to remain fit and strong. Consistent eating of junk and fast food will increase the risk of obesity and other diseases. In addition, such people are more vulnerable to the adverse effects of air pollution. Instead, add more fresh veggies and fruits to your diet. Also, you can consume less meat to minimise carbon footprints.

You can also add anti-inflammatory foods as these types of food help to cleanse your lungs effectively. Anti-inflammatory foods which I recommend are: 

Immunity booster drinks

You can do your immunity booster drinks by using readily available items in your kitchen. Immunity booster drinks help to cleanse your lungs. Some of the DIY immunity booster drinks are as follows:

  • Take a glass of warm white milk. Add half a teaspoon of turmeric powder to it. Also, add two strands of saffron to it. Drink it at night before sleeping. You will get good sleep, and you will be relieved from chest congestion. 
  • Boil water by adding half cinnamon stick. Drink the spice-infused water once a day. Your sinuses would be cleared up. 
  • Buy an excellent green tea. Prepare a green tea by following the packet instructions. Have it whenever you feel irritation in your throat. 
  • Take some crushed 1 or 2 peppercorns, a half-inch of a blade of lemongrass and 1 inch of grated ginger and half a teaspoon of turmeric powder. Add everything in one glass of boiling water and reduce it to half a glass. Drink two tablespoons of this spice-infused warm water every after three hours. Adding honey is optional. 
  • You can also drink warm water and add honey if you want. Honey helps to relieve throat irritation.

Use Mask

Mask can prevent you from inhaling the polluted air. You would be able to work in contaminated areas without any fear of allergy infections and stress. 

Masks I recommend

Name Why I recommend it
BASE CAMP CROSSDUST MASKEAPI Filter Technology & Advanced NanotechnologyUser FriendlyMore Durable Six layers face maskFilter materials of the dust mask: Double-Layer Melt-blown with Electrostatic Adsorption Performance, Activated carbon, Non-woven Polypropylene
NIOSH approved N95 maskFour layers mask Flexible nose pad, dual strapsDisposable maskEasy to breathe
BASE CAMP Reusable Cloth Face MaskThree layers mask; 100% cotton Skin-friendly and breathablePocket to add additional filterReusable Mask

How can I individually reduce air pollution?

You can always try your level best to minimise air pollution. The following are the methods to reduce air pollution at an individual level.

Plant Trees

Encourage tree plantation drives amongst the communities. You can be a green saviour of your region. Trees are the natural air purifiers of the environment, and it supplies us with clean air.

Municipal councils or the local authorities can develop urban forests to increase the green cover of the locality. They can also plan to create vertical green walls to improve oxygen levels of the region naturally. But don’t forget to plant only indigenous trees. 

Human/ religious celebrations in eco-friendly ways 

Nowadays, many couples celebrate gender (of their baby) revealing parties by bursting firecrackers. But, unfortunately, these firecrackers can transform into massive wildfires if they are burst near trees.

Thus, you can celebrate such celebrations by planting trees in your nearby barren land. Bursting firecrackers on any religious, festive or personal occasion are only going to harm your loved ones. 

You can also celebrate Christmas by not cutting Christmas Trees. Instead, you can buy artificial ones and use them in the coming years too.

Discourage Plastic

Single-use plastic has been one of the major concerns in the environment. Plastic pollution indirectly contributes to the degradation of air quality. Plastic, when burned, releases various toxic gases such as dioxins into the air.

Encourage alternative use of the plastic product. For example, you can wear a cloth bag for shopping. You can also carry your travel cutlery set to a restaurant. Additionally, you can take your water bottle instead of purchasing a packaged drinking water bottle every time.

Use of public transportation 

Increase the use of public transport to reduce air pollution and traffic congestion. You can also try carpooling or the cab sharing option. Then, you can also use bicycles instead of scooters. Lastly, you can always opt for walking a shorter distance. 

Alternative use of fossil fuel

It would be best to try switching to other fuel alternatives. For example, don’t use wood for the fireplace. Instead, you can wear multiple layers of clothes for warmth. In this way, you can conserve energy. Additionally, you can also install solar panels on house roofs to convert solar energy into electricity. 

You can also buy electric and hybrid vehicles to minimise tailpipe emissions. Finally, propose or discuss a plan with your mayor or any relevant local authority to promote your region’s renewable energy sector.

Reduction of personal carbon footprints

You can also keep a check on your carbon footprints. For example, you can delete unwanted photos, videos or emails from clouds and email boxes as and when possible. Unfortunately, this unwanted stuff takes a lot of energy, which indirectly contributes to air pollution.

You can also switch off the lights and electrical appliances of the vacant rooms. Try buying local products instead of imported ones. Be vocal about them. You can also discover your own country rather than travelling to different ones.

Create Awareness

Air pollution is unpredictable; air pollution in your vicinity can affect people living in Asia and vice-a-versa. However, you can create public awareness about air pollution amongst your community by teaching and interacting with your kids about the importance of good air. 

Educate youth by telling them the ill effects of poor air quality. Then, let your country’s future know that they deserve a better place to live!

How can the local authorities improve the air quality of your region?

You can always observe the changes happening in your surrounding nature. If you experience bad air quality or any activities producing air pollution, you can always concern relevant local authorities or the mayor.

Here are some methods which local authorities can do.

Proper disposal of waste 

Improper solid waste management of an area is an invitation to many diseases and infections. In addition, burning solid waste in public can cause air pollution, although such practices are rare in the US. 

The wastes are mainly disposed of in the engineered landfills and recycled before final disposal to landfills and waste incinerators. 

In addition, waste incinerators help to convert waste into energy.

However, many researchers have claimed that gasification technology or waste-to-energy technology may release harmful gaseous contaminants. Thus, it is necessary that waste collectors rigorously segregate the waste before sending it to waste incinerators. 

The best solution is to minimise waste at a personal level. Statistically, 70% of the waste generated can be recycled effectively. Thus, strive to recycle your waste at a personal level as much as possible.

Reducing air pollution from agriculture

Stubble burning is still practised in some parts of the US. This event contributes to the degradation of air. Local authorities can help farmers convert this waste into cattle fodder or be transformed into pellets as fuel. In addition, farmers should stop the usage of harmful pesticides or fertilisers to decrease air pollution.

How can I reduce indoor air pollution?

Maintaining household or indoor hygiene

You can decrease poor air quality by adequately maintaining indoor hygiene. For example, you can frequently clean your cupboards and open decks to avoid an accumulation of dust particles. You can then vacuum your carpets and sofas at least twice a week. 

Make sure your doggies and cats are well-groomed. Use chimneys and exhaust fans in kitchens. You can also install an exhaust fan in washrooms. Always make sure you are keeping your house well ventilated. 

Keep doors and windows open when possible. Maintain the health of electric appliances such as heaters, humidifiers, AC, fans, air ducts and so on at regular intervals of the year. Avoid overuse of strong perfumes or strong scented candles indoors. You can additionally use indoor plants to make your indoors more lively and fresh.

Indoor plants

Indoor plants do the same work as outdoor ones- they help to purify indoor air naturally. These indoor plants are also easy to maintain.

The indoor plants which I recommend are as follows: 

Air purifiers

Air purifiers help to improve indoor air quality. The risk of getting air pollution-related diseases decreases due to the use of air purifiers. Air purifiers having good HEPA filters do an adequate job of filtering pollutants.

Air Purifiers I recommend are as follows:

NameWhy I recommend it
Blueair Pro XL Air Purifier99.7% of airborne pollutants such as mould, allergens, smoke particles and pollens are captured. 
AIRMEGA 400SReduction of 99.97% of particulates of 0.3 microns. Also responsible for reducing more than 99% of VOCs, NH3 and CH3CHO.Washable and permanent pre-filters are available 
Blueair Pure 121Includes 3-part filtration system. Captures 99% of common airborne PM 2.5 pollutants such as allergens, odours, smoke, mould spores, dust mites and pet dander.An activated carbon filter removes common odours caused by smoke, pets, and gases (VOCs) and smoke caused by wildfires.


The humidity levels in the office should be maintained between 30 and 50% in the office. This range helps to keep dust mites, mould and other allergens under control. In addition, when AC or heater makes the air in the room dry, humidifiers can maintain correct humidity levels.

Humidifiers I recommend

Name Why I recommend it
Amazon Basics Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier 4 litre of tank capacityAuto shut-off feature and 12 or 24-hour timer settingsIt can be used in both seasons
MOVTIP HumidifierPortable Mini-humidifier500 ml capacity, still produces longer mistsEasy to operate
LEVOIT HumidifierIt can be used for both seasons6 litres of capacity Easy to clean and has a remote control


Dehumidifiers also work similarly to humidifiers. It controls the high levels of humidity in the office.

Dehumidifiers I recommend

Name Why I recommend it
Pro Breeze DehumidifierCan extract 50 pints of moisture a dayEnergy-saving auto-off systemBuilt-in Humidity sensor
HOmeLabs DehumidifierEliminates moistness, odour controllerEasy to cleanRemovable water tank
TCL Portable Dehumidifier20 pints of moisture removed per dayIt can be operated at low temperatures tooEasy to maintain

Other FAQs about Air Quality that you may be interested in.

How does the air get polluted?

How does sunlight affect air quality?

How does pollution affect the rain?


In this blog post, we will discuss “How does air pollution affect the Earth?” Firstly, we will discuss the basic information about air pollution. Then, it will give a brief description of the effects of environmental pollution on nature. In addition, the article will throw light on the impact of air pollution on the Earth in depth. In the end, we will provide a detailed solution to minimize air pollution.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): How does pollution affect the Earth?

How does air pollution affect Earth?

Air pollution can contaminate all the natural resources of the Earth, including water and soil surfaces. In addition, the air pollutants such as sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides can mix with oxygen and rain, changing the acidity levels of the resources. These consequences can cause various respiratory ailments and other dangerous health effects on the Earth’s living matter.

How does air pollution affect animals?

Just like humans, animals also get adverse health effects from air pollution. The various results faced by animals are congenital disabilities, diseases and lower reproduction rate. In addition, air pollution is also swelling the inner body lining.

How does air pollution affect plants and animals?

Acid rains are developed due to the formation of air pollutants clouds, disturbing the acidity level of water bodies and soil surfaces. These consequences affect the wildlife adversely; they can even lead to death. In addition, acid rains lower the nutritional value of the soil and damages the root and shoot system. 

What is environmental and environmental pollution?

The environment is a natural world consisting of various biotic and abiotic factors such as wildlife, flora and fauna, and natural resources such as land, water and air. Environmental pollution is defined as the contamination of the biotic and abiotic components of the Earth and degradation of the atmospheric system by human activities or natural phenomena.

What does air pollution mean?

Air pollution means the introduction of toxic biological and chemical contaminants into the air. This introduction is due to human activities such as the combustion of fossil fuels, vehicular pollution, etc. and natural events such as volcanic eruptions, wildfires and dust storms. Air pollutants can be in gaseous, liquid or solid-state.

Why air pollution is a problem?

Air pollution is a problem because it destroys the natural resources and living organisms of the Earth. Air pollution causes damage to the following things:

  • Crops
  • Animals
  • Forests
  • Water bodies
  • Land surfaces
  • Ozone layer depletion

References 2021. Air pollution: effects on soil and water – [online] Available at 

Mackenzie, J. and Turrentine, J., 2021. Air Pollution: Everything You Need to Know. [online] NRDC. Available at

National Geographic Society. 2021. air pollution. [online] Available at 

Shi, Z., 2014. Why air pollution reduces crop yields. [online] World Economic Forum. Available at 2021. Air pollution and food production | UNECE. [online] Available at 

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