The problem of air pollution is reviewed with emphasis on its origin and its effects on trees and shrubs. These effects are described from two points of view: the effects of general air pollution, and also the effects of specific pollutants. The considerable mixing, dilution and interaction that pollutants undergo in the air often renders it exceedingly difficult to assign pollution damage to any specific chemical or physical entity. Moreover, it is often impossible to assign responsibility for damage to any particular source. The constituents of general air pollution may be subdivided into those potentially incapable, and those potentially capable, of entering the plant either through the leaf stomata or indirectly by way of the soil. Specific pollutants cause damage directly, as well as indirectly from the chemical reactions that occur in the polluted atmosphere. Sulfur dioxide is discussed in detail in relation to tree and shrub damage, with numerous examples of plant injuries.