This video gives a brief overview of Earth's air quality. Satellite measurements provide consistent, near-real time, global maps of pollution gas hot spots around the world.
When Earth is viewed from space at night, brightest areas show the biggest cities and industrial areas. These areas correspond to increased air pollution. An example of a common air pollutant, Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) gas is released into the air primarily by burning fossil fuels. It is unhealthy to breathe and reacts with other gases and sunlight to produce ground-level ozone, which is also unhealthy to breathe. NO2 imagery shows the greatest emissions around the world from industry, vehicle exhaust and fires due to deforestation and agricultural burning. One can see evidence of some combination of these over all continents, except Antarctica, with densely populated areas showing more pollution.