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After two years of scandals and deregulatory schemes that rival the machinations of Captain Planet villains, we thought we were immune to being shocked by the actions of Trump's U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). But the agency has managed to genuinely surprise us—by doing something that could actually benefit the environment.

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Prayitno / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

From ear infections to loss of intelligence, it's become increasingly clear that air pollution can affect more than just our lungs.

Now, a study from University of Southern California researchers suggested that early exposure to traffic pollution increases the risk of childhood obesity in later life, adding more evidence that dirty air is a public health threat to children.

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Nitrogen dioxide pollution around the world. Greenpeace

Greenpeace has revealed the world's largest nitrogen dioxide (NO2) air pollution hotspots across six continents, and identified Mpumalanga, South Africa as the biggest NO2 hotspot, even outranking areas in China, India and the U.S.

The lush, green province is home to the southern half of Kruger National Park and the iconic Blyde River Canyon. At the same time, it's home to a dozen coal fired power plants owned and operated by the power utility Eskom.

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A 9-year-old girl's death from asthma has been linked to illegal levels of air pollution in the UK, the first such reported fatality.

Ella Kissi-Debrah, who lived just 80 feet from London's busy and highly polluted South Circular Road, died in February 2013 after suffering three years of seizures and nearly 30 admissions to the hospital.

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VW Golf TDI clean diesel at the 2010 Washington Auto Show. Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz / CC BY-SA 3.0

Volkswagen (VW) cars recalled and fixed after 2015's "dieselgate" emissions cheating scandal are still failing air pollution tests conducted by the Australian Automobile Association (AAA), The AFP reported Monday.

AAA tested the cars outside of the laboratory and found that, while they emitted less than before the recall, they still exceeded Australia's legal limits.

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