Water and air are necessary for all life and therefore for all animal and vegetable products; they are the main constituents of many materials. Water can dissolve more chemical compounds than any other solvent and is used a great deal in the painting industry. Water is essential in concrete even though much of it evaporates as part of the setting process. Air is also an important component in the chemical processes required for the setting of most concretes. It is also the essential constituent of insulation materials. The majority of industrial processes also use great amounts of water for cooling, cleaning, etc.
Clean air and pure water are limited resources in many places. During recent years large parts of the European continent and several other densely populated regions have experienced drastic disturbances in the water situation including widespread pollution of ground water. It is expected that this will accelerate with changing precipitation rates and patterns as a result of global warming.
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